Kentucky Air National Guard unit deploys to support Haitian relief effort

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2010

CONTACT: Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, 502-352-8008

WHO: Kentucky Air National Guard

WHAT: Haitian relief effort

WHEN: Departures at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., Friday, January 22, 2010

WHERE: Air National Guard Base, 1101 Grade Lane, Lousivlle, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky Air National Guard has mobilized approximately 45 members of the 123rd Contingency Readiness Group (CRG) and three C-130 Hercules air transports in support of Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian relief operations in Haiti, officials announced today.

Described as an “airbase in a box,” the 123rd CRG has all the personnel, training and equipment needed to deploy to a remote site, open a runway and establish airfield operations so that aid or troops can begin to flow into affected areas.

“This is exactly the type of mission we train for,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky. “The 123rd CRG possesses the capabilities needed to bring relief to the people of Haiti. We have the right people and the right resources to do what must be done.”

The 123rd CRG is expected to depart at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., Friday from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville. The unit’s mission is to establish an airbase in the Dominican Republic to manage air traffic in support of the relief effort. The Kentucky Air Guard C-130s will also fly logistical support missions into Haiti as needed.

“We will be the first National Guard unit supporting this mission,” said Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing.

The 123rd CRG provides a broad spectrum of specialties, including airfield command and control, security, ramp and cargo operations.

“This isn’t the first dance these Airmen have attended,” said Col Nelson. “Most of them have operational experience from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from stateside operations in support of relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina and during last year’s ice storm in Western Kentucky.”

The 123d Airlift Wing has a unique combination of capabilities able to immediately open an airfield for mass airlift operations, provide search and rescue analysis, and expeditionary medical support. Only the Kentucky Air National Guard houses all these capabilities in one location along with the C-130 aircraft for delivery.

The Kentucky National Guard mobilized three airmen on Saturday to support humanitarian relief operations in Haiti. Also, a C-130 Hercules air transport was dispatched yesterday morning to perform an airdrop resupply mission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Media are invited to attend the departure of the 123rd CRG from the Kentucky Air National Guard Base, 1101 Grade Lane, Louisville. Departure times are 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., Friday. You are advised to arrive early to process through security. Photo ID is required for admission to the Air Guard base.

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