42 Airmen from Delaware Air Guard now evacuating hundreds of patients from Texas Gulf Coast as Hurricane IKE nears

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

Two aircraft departed New Castle Tuesday afternoon after advance team left Tuesday morning; more aircrews on alert

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Office 302-323-3369, or cell 302-593-2126
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2008-9-003, September 10, 2008 [corrected Release No.]


NEW CASTLE - Forty-two members of the Delaware Air National Guard left Delaware yesterday, Sept. 9, 2008, for Texas, and are now actively moving patients out of coastal areas in Texas as Hurricane Ike bears down on the Texas Gulf Coast.

On Monday Sept. 8, aircrews and medical specialists from the Delaware Air Guard were placed on alert status, and mission planning began for actual flights which began the next day.

On Tuesday morning Sept. 9, a four-person aeromedical advance team from the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron left for Texas aboard commercial aircraft.

On Tuesday afternoon Sept. 9, a group of 14 unit Airmen left New Castle aboard a New York Air National Guard C-130 from the 109th Airlift Wing and took off about 12:30 p.m. headed to Carswell, Texas.

About 15 minutes later, at about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, a group of 24 unit Airmen took off aboard a Delaware Air National Guard C-130 from the 166th Airlift Wing bound for Corpus Christi, Texas.

About 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Corpus Christi, the Airmen had set up a Mobile Aeromedical Staging Facility to coordinate patient flow.

This afternoon, Wednesday Sept. 10, the Airmen have begun moving hundreds of patients away from the Texas coast.

In addition, about a dozen more Airmen, making up two Delaware Air Guard aircrews, are on a three-hour alert status to report to New Castle air base in case they are needed to participate in additional flying missions to the Gulf Coast.

The 42 Airmen now on the Gulf Coast are from five Delaware Air Guard units; 30 Airmen from the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, five Airmen from the 166th Medical Group, five Airmen from the 142nd Airlift Squadron, and one Airman each from the 166th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 166th Maintenance Squadron.

On Sept. 9, Texas Gov. Rick Perry authorized the call-up of up to 7,500 Texas Military Soldiers and Airmen in response to Hurricane Ike, the current weather system threatening the Gulf Coast.

Other state National Guard units are involved in the movement of patients from the Gulf Coast of Texas, all coordinated between the states, the National Guard Bureau, and in Delaware, the Delaware Emergency Management Authority and the Delaware National Guard Joint Operations Center.

"Once again, with only a few days of rest, troops from the Delaware National Guard are executing one of our core missions to assist fellow citizens from other states who need help and whose lives are at risk as a potentially devastating weather event approaches their hometowns," said Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, Adjutant General, Delaware National Guard.

All of this activity comes just days after several dozen Delaware Air and Army National Guard troops were assisting with the relief efforts from Hurricane Gustav, most of them working on the Gulf Coast, and others working behind the scenes to coordinate National Guard activity.

About 17 Delaware National Guard troops, Soldiers and Airmen, are still on the Gulf Coast finishing up relief operations from Hurricane Gustav, establishing and maintaining voice and data networks so that emergency relief workers can talk to each other and coordinate relief operations. Most are expected to return sometime on Sept. 11. About another 10 troops from the Delaware Guard are working from National Guard Bureau offices in the Capital Region to plan and coordinate relief operations.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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