Cargo flight to Saint Croix – enlisted leader, spouse find new assignment

Sassy, a Yorkshire Terrier, awaits a flight out of Savannah Air National Guard Base to St. Croix, Sept. 24, 2017, along with three other pets. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith) 

SAVANNAH AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ga. – The National Guard hit the ground running this week to bring disaster response to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but getting off to a quick start is an understatement for Batina “Blue” Wesson and her husband, Army Sgt. Maj. Derwin Wesson.

Sergeant Major Wesson is the incoming U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard Command Sergeant Major. Hurricane Maria hit before he could arrive to take the position as the senior noncommissioned officer for all enlisted Soldiers.

“We’re going in with boots on the ground and get in,” said Blue.

She sat outside the door of an Air National Guard airlift hub and contingency processing center Sept. 24 at Savannah Air National Guard Base in Georgia. The sergeant major checked on their flight to Saint Croix. Accompanying her were their pets, Zoo, a Bengal cat, as well as three dogs – Sassy and Pinky Winky – both Yorkshire Terriers – and Mr. Biggie – a Miniature Pinscher.

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165th Airlift Wing keeps disaster relief moving

Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Air Terminal Operations Center at Savannah Air National Guard Base prepare 38,000 pounds of meals-ready-to-eat, Sept. 26, 2017, to send as air cargo to disaster areas from Hurricanes Maria and Irma at Savannah Air National Guard Base in Georgia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Air Terminal Operations Center at Savannah Air National Guard Base were operating around the clock this week to send disaster relief to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The group of more than 16 Airmen began 12-hour shifts for handling air cargo out of Savannah shortly after the islands’ devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria became known.

By the looks of things here, the busy operations seemed a good sign that the military did not forget those in dire need.

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Carried response to Maria

Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, Ga., drive forklifts with hurricane response supplies and gear for airlift to Puerto Rico and St. Croix, Sept. 25, 2017, at Savannah Air National Guard Base. The cargo was loaded onto a 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island Air National Guard C-130J cargo aircraft. The flight departed this morning with a security forces contingency from the Washington Air National Guard as well as embedded national media from NBC nightly news. As of Monday morning, the 165th Airlift Wing loaded C-130 and KC-135 aircraft from 11 states with cargo, gear, and passengers in 69 sorties to the disaster areas in Puerto Rico and St. Croix. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Air Guard wings line up at Savannah for Maria recovery

(A team of Air National Guard aerial porters from the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah load a palette of water destined for St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Sept. 22, 2017. More than four tons of water and food will be delivered to people affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Photo by 165th Airlift Wing)

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Air National Guard Airmen began lining up operations for aircraft, cargo, and passengers through Savannah Air National Guard Base here Sept. 22 to support the recovery and relief operations after Hurricane Maria lined up to pulverize Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced disaster declarations shortly after Maria passed over the islands to be among the strongest recorded hurricanes to hit the United States. It followed two other major hurricanes making landfall this month.
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Anticipate this to help, for any disaster

Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. The official logo for National Preparedness Month 2017. (Photo illustration by Ready.gov.)

Why check your emergency information? September is National Preparedness Month. Americans know natural disasters, if not from personal experiences, then through others’. Anticipating a disaster helps ensure our preparedness.

I’ll share my first memory, of Tropical Storm Carrie in 1972. I was four. I don’t recall much except that we had a gas stove and my mom popped corn in the dark while the thunder boomed outside. (I realize that this is small in comparison to disasters others faced, but it was pretty scary. So it must be for the kids in Houston.)

As Hurricane Harvey reminds us, while our memories fade, events may spring unrealized, anywhere and anytime. All severe weather can cause significant damage and risk of life. The need for proper emergency planning is critical in response. So if you’re with me, this might be our fair warning to recheck our records and plans for ourselves, family and friends.

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Vigilant Guard managers put the KaBOOM in terrorism exercises

GUAM – KaBOOM!

Exercise managers for the Vigilant Guard homeland security exercise added realism, Sept. 16, 2008, by blowing up balloons filled with explosive gas.

KaPOW!

They tested the balloons today. Tomorrow the noisemakers will prompt police swat teams to move in on a suspected fake terrorist hideout at a hotel. Along with phony blown up cars, it’s all been fabricated by the National Guard’s civilian exercise managers.

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