Governor Cuomo Deploys New York Army Guard Helicopters To Assist Hurricane Response Efforts In Florida And Mississippi

Airmen of the 105th Airlift Wing Deployed Satellite Communications to Mississippi on Sunday.

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Albany, NY - September 11, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 10 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters and 55 Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade have deployed to Florida to assist in the response to Hurricane Irma on Monday, September 11. Helicopters departed from Army Aviation Flight Facilities in Ronkonkoma, Latham and Rochester today, flying to Richmond, Virginia and will then arrive in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday.
 
In addition, Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing, based in Newburgh, deployed a satellite communications with seven personnel team using a wing C-17 aircraft midday on Sunday, September 10 to Mississippi as part of the Hurricane Irma response and support to the Florida National Guard. The Joint Incident Site Communications Capability allows the Airmen to rapidly set up internet, voice over IP and other communications capabilities during natural and manmade disasters.
 
"As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida and its neighbors, New York will continue to do all it can to provide resources and assistance to these affected communities," Governor Cuomo said. "When disaster and devastation have visited New York, our brothers and sisters from across the nation stood by us and we will do the same for our friends in need."
 
The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, with Army National Guard aviation crews, will support the Florida National Guard's response efforts. Three helicopters departed from the Latham facility, three from Rochester and four from Ronkonkoma. The aircraft are capable of moving supplies or personnel from confined locations or in areas with limited access. Six of the ten helicopters are equipped with hoists.
 
The Soldiers on the mission are assigned to Alpha and Bravo companies of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation, based in Latham and Ronkonkoma, respectively, and Charlie Company (Medical Evacuation) of the 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation in Rochester.
 
The team will initially be based at Florida Army National Guard facilities in Jacksonville.
These elements follow the deployment Saturday, September 9 of a C-130 cargo plane from the Scotia-based 109th Airlift Wing with medical supplies to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That aircraft returns to New York Sunday evening.
 
An additional HC-130 from the 106th Rescue Wing deployed from Westhampton Beach, on Monday, September 11 to transport additional response personnel from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron to Florida.
 
The New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen join 35 members of the NYTF-2 Urban Search and Rescue Team already forward deployed in Florida. NYTF-2 is supporting Florida Emergency Services with water rescue capabilities, employing six boats for water rescue operations, two tractor trailers with equipment needed for urban search and rescue missions, and two disaster search K-9 teams. 
 
New York has a long history of helping other states following natural disasters. In addition to sending similar assistance to Florida following Hurricanes Matthew, Frances, Ivan, and Dennis, New York dispatched a multi-agency team of more than 300 individuals to assist Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, as well as another 18-member team after Hurricane Gustav. Additionally, New York has sent crews of firefighters west many times to assist with containing wildfires.