21 Airmen from Delaware Air Guard fly to Texas today on standby to assist with Hurricane Dean relief efforts

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Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

One aircraft departed 7:20 a.m. this morning with 16 Airmen; second aircraft expected to leave later today with 5 more aeromedical evacuation Airmen

News media invited on base this morning -- may arrive ASAP. Call Sgt. Matwey at cell number 302-593-2126 for details.

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing
Cell 302-593-2126, or office 302-323-3369
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2007-08-004 [corrected Release No., and corrected text for ANGRC]
August 20, 2007


NEW CASTLE, Delaware - Twenty-one Airmen from the Delaware Air National Guard are heading to Texas today, to an air base near San Antonio, following orders from the Air National Guard Readiness Center located at Andrews Air Force Base,Md. to be prepositioned in case they are called upon by the Governor of Texas to assist with any Hurricane Dean relief efforts.

At 7:20 a.m. this morning 16 aeromedical evacuation specialists, nurses and medical technicians, left New Castle taking off in a unit C-130 transport aircraft. The group is first flying to New York, to pick up 11 more aeromedical specialists from the N.Y. Air National Guard, 109th Airlift Wing. Their destination is Stratton Air National Guard Base/Schenectady County Airport in Scotia, N.Y.

An additional unit Airman, Maj. Terry Thomas, a flight nurse, was called to duty this weekend at the Air National Guard Readiness Center to help coordinate responses from the Delaware unit and from nine additional units across the country.

The 16 Airmen who left this morning were 13 members of a mobile aeromedical staging facility (MASF) team and a 3-member aeromedical evacuation liaison team. A MASF is a staging facility for patients. Items carried on the aircraft this morning were tents, generators, liters, a humvee (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle), medical equipment and supplies.

The 5 additional Airmen expected to leave later today will arrive on base within the hour. The 5 people are an aeromedical evacuation crew of 2 nurses and 3 medical technicians. Flight planning is underway.

The Delaware Air National Guard is one of 10 aeromedical evacuation units from 10 Air National Guard units across the country tasked for these missions.

Friday afternoon Aug. 17 the unit got a heads up from planners at the ANG Readiness Center that they might be needed. The base received an official order 2:00 p.m. Saturday and instituted a recall roster of members. Two dozen Airmen reported to base 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning to begin preparations. Just a couple months ago about a dozen of these same Airmen completed four months of aeromedical missions to Southwest Asia, including to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Hugh Broomall, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Delaware National Guard, said, "This is a commitment to our fellow states to help someone in need, showing National Guard units helping other National Guard units and Americans helping Americans. Our commander, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, is committed to responding to our fellow states."

"This is our job, taking care of the homeland. That's what we're here for," said Senior Master Sgt. Eileen Maher, an aeromedical evacuation technician and unit point person who contacted fellow members and been on base all weekend, and arrived also 4:30 a.m. today to help prepare for today's two missions.

Lt. Col. Chuck Gebhart, medical services corps officer and chief administrator of the Delaware Air Guard 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, said, "The entire unit responded, and we were ready to get on an aircraft as early as 8:00 p.m. Sunday night."

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