Eleven Iowa Army National Guard soldiers and a couple of helicopters took off from the Quad Cities this morning to help with hurricane relief in Houston.
They train regularly in Davenport, and eight belong to the 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion. The other three crew members are from Boone and Johnston.
Spokesman, Colonel Greg Hapgood, says the Chinooks are capable of lifting very heavy equipment and vehicles. And the crew will take sling loads and other specialized equipment with them to Texas.
"They're ready to do whatever is asked of them. We don't know if they'll haul people, supplies, or equipment. Right now, they're focused on arriving in Texas to do what's needed in Houston."
All eleven of the Iowa National Guard soldiers volunteered to go. But Hapgood says they aren't the only ones making sacrifices to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Seventy-five percent of Iowa National Guard troops are civilian workers 28 days of every month. And community support plus the support of their employers is integral to the mission of the National Guard.
He says they're all seasoned soldiers with experience in war overseas and responding to disasters in the US. The Davenport-based Chinooks and the crew will continue to work in the Houston area until they're relieved, or not needed anymore.