Kentucky Guard Army Aviators provide Hurricane Sandy Relief Support

story by: Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Hurricane Sandy Sherpa Support

Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Detachment 3, Company H, 171 Aviation provide Hurricane Sandy relief support through McGuire Air Force Base, NJ Nov. 3. The flight crew provided passenger and cargo transport with less than 12 hours notice. (photo by Maj. Tongret, 167th Theater Sustainment Command)

Fort McGuire, NJ — The Kentucky National Guard sent three Army aviation Soldiers to provide support for those affected by Hurricane Sandy last October.

For more photos from the mission, please click HERE.

With less than 12 hours notice, Sgt. Alan Gootee and Chief Warrant Officers Chad Russell and George McMakin provided passenger and cargo transport from Anniston, Ala., to Fort McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., totalling over ten hours of flight time.

The flight required 11 personnel with over 2,000 lbs of cargo to be picked up and transported to Fort McGuire to set up a command cell in support of the relief effort.  The mission had enough cargo to warrant the Air Force C-130 support, but fell to the Army when they weren’t available to take the mission.

“Even though it was last minute, we stepped up,” said Russell. “We all came together as a team to achieve this mission and help out those in need,” he said.

SGT Alan Gootee

Sgt. Alan Gootee, Detachment 3, Company H, 171 Aviation,  inspects and uploads cargo for Hurricane Sandy relief support Nov. 3. (photo submitted)

According to McMakin, the mission could not have been accomplished without Sgt. Gootee’s hard work.

“Alan weighed and loaded every bag himself and somehow was able to fit it all in the Sherpa,” said McMakin. “The passengers were amazed that he was able to accommodate that amount of weight and personnel on such short notice.”

Without the C-23 Sherpa support, the command cell providing direct support to Hurricane Sandy relief would not have gotten their personnel and equipment until 72 hours later, which proved vital in the time of crisis.

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