The Kentucky Air National Guard has deployed 18 airmen to assist with relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
The airmen are part of the 123rd Special Tactics Unit, with 14 from two personnel recovery teams with expertise in swift-water rescues, emergency medical care and working in confined spaces.
They deployed Sunday night from Louisville for Robert Gray Army Air Field at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a statement released by the Guard.
The Kentucky Air National Guard assisted with hurricane rescue and recovery after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Members of the unit established and operated a helicopter landing zone on a highway overpass in New Orleans that helped evacuate nearly 12,000 citizens.
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“These airmen are some of the most dedicated and professional special operators in the entire United States Armed Forces,” said Col. David Mounkes, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they work to assist residents who have been stranded by Hurricane Harvey and the historic flooding in Texas.”
Winds as high as 130 mph destroyed homes and buildings, and flooding has overwhelmed the area. Rain totals could hit 50 inches in some coastal areas of Texas, Reuters reported.
The crisis in Houston and southwest Texas “is unprecedented, and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced,” the National Weather Service warned Sunday.