Kentucky National Guard deploying for Irma relief

A crew from the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade was scheduled to depart Thursday for the Caribbean to assist with search and rescue efforts of Hurricane Irma.

The soldiers will leave Louisville for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The group were expected to take two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with medical evacuation equipment, a release stated.

Several brigade members recently returned from Texas, where they responded to Hurricane Harvey with aviation logistical support.

The 63rd Aviation Brigade has been aiding in hurricanes since Katrina in 2005.

“Kentucky’s aviators and crew members are highly trained in their craft and fully prepared to provide support to our neighbor states,” said 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade commander Col. Dwayne Lewis. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they work to assist residents who have been affected by Hurricane Irma and the potential historic devastation in the Caribbean and Southern Atlantic states.”

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, has left “unprecedented damage” in the Caribbean, reports say.

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson