Back From Houston, On to Florida

Sep 11, 2017

A Chinook helicopter from the Ia. National Guard's aviation unit at the Davenport airport.
Credit WVIK News / WVIK Quad Cities NPR

Just a day or two after they returned from Houston and Hurricane Harvey, some Iowa National Guard soldiers and helicopters are being deployed again. Monday, 19 soldiers and four helicopters from Davenport, Iowa City, Boone, and Waterloo left for Florida to help victims of Hurricane Irma.

Guard spokesman, Colonel Greg Hapgood, says they'll be stationed outside of Florida initially, until the severe weather has passed.

"We have two Chinook helicopters which are heavy-lift helicopters - they move supplies, equipment, and people. Then the other two helicopters are LUH-72 Lakotas which are light utility helicopters but they have specialized optics and cameras and infrared sensors on board so they can help with search and rescue."

Some of these same soldiers and helicopters traveled to Texas on September 1st, and for nine days carried people and supplies around the Houston area. But he says they returned home over the weekend after the emergency phase ended and the area began to focus on recovery. 

The group from Iowa includes nineteen soldiers from Davenport, Iowa City, Boone, and Waterloo, plus three helicopters from the Davenport Aviation Support Battalion, and one from the Aviation Security and Support unit in Waterloo.