Kentucky Air National Guard Combat Controllers assist with supply parachute drops, airfield operations in Haiti

Supplies from a US Air Force C-17 parachute into a landing zone coordinated by Kentucky Air National Guard Special Tactics operators. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 23, 2010

CONTACT: Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, 502-352-8008, email: kirk.hilbrecht@us.army.mil

Port au Prince, Haiti – Two Combat Controllers from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123d Special Tactics Squadron have been hard at work since arriving in Port-au-Prince, Haiti last week, setting up drop zones, helicopter landing zones and providing airfield operations and air traffic control at the international airport.

The airmen are augmenting a Special Tactics Team from the 720th Special Tactics Group, based in Hurlburt Field, FL. Their names are not being released as part of the Department of Defense policy protecting the identity of special operations group members.

“These Airmen are doing a remarkable job,” said Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht,Public Affairs Officer for the Kentucky National Guard, speaking from the Dominican Republic. “In addition to their work at Port au Prince, they have scoured the country in helicopters to identify and survey suitable drop zones for the airdrop of relief supplies in otherwise unreachable areas.”

The combat controllers have to take careful consideration to ensure safety for the aircraft, Haitian citizens on the ground, and remaining structures.”

“They are doing everything possible to guarantee the relief makes it into the hands of those who are desperately in need,” said Hilbrecht. “Last Tuesday one of the combat controllers coordinated the first military C-17 airdrop of relief supplies into Haiti.”

Both Airmen are continuing with their mission to locate suitable drop zones as well as provide air traffic control at the Port-au-Prince International Airport.

The deployment of the two combat controllers was later followed with the deployment of 45 members of the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group, which arrived yesterday in the Dominican Republic to assist in airfield operations supporting the relief effort.

A member of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, right, teams up with his active duty counterpart to establish a relief supply drop zone near Port au Prince, Haiti. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)

Local citizens greet a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, center, and his active duty team mates during a mission near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)

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