176th Wing departs JBER for Hurricane Harvey humanitarian support

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs
Story by Airman 1st Class Christopher Morales

Date: 08.28.2017
Posted: 08.28.2017 21:22
News ID: 246367

The Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing departed Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, at 10 a.m. Aug. 28 on a C-130 Hercules headed to Moffett Air Field, California, to provide humanitarian support for Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

“Right now, Texas is being overwhelmed and this is how our states help each other,” said Air Force Col. Steve deMilliano, 176th Wing Commander. “We will be there during their time of greatest need.”

The 176th sent 13 members including pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and combat support personnel with three inflatable boats, and will receive two helicopters from the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard en route to Texas. Once there the team, which is comprised of volunteers, will provide humanitarian relief, conduct searches and save anyone in need with aerial- and aquatic-rescue capabilities.

“I have full confidence they will aggressively pursue this mission and save a lot of lives in this pursuit,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Komatsu, 212th Rescue Squadron commander. “[That] we are willing to travel halfway around the globe shows just how far we are willing to serve our nation.”

This mission is nothing new to the 176th Wing. Following the 2015 Pakistan earthquake, 212th RQS specialists were called to operate with U.S. Army and State Department helicopters to evacuate tens of thousands of survivors, deliver food, water, relief supplies, and provide transport and treatment to the victims of natural disasters.