In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) for Oklahoma has called for additional manpower and specialized equipment to assist with rescue efforts in south Texas, according to a press release issued by the Oklahoma National Guard on Tuesday.
The Oklahoma Army National Guard’s LUH-72, Lakota helicopter with hoist capability departed from Muldrow Army Heliport located at the Army Aviation Support Facility-1, while prepositioned in Lexington, Oklahoma on Tuesday morning. The helicopter and crew are from Detachment One, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 140th Service and Support Battalion, 90th Troop Command out of Tulsa.
Nearly 20 personnel including forklift drivers, truck drivers and maintenance personnel from 700 Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were requested to provide Rough Terrain Forklifts (RTFL).
Members from the 137th Special Operations Wing are deploying about 30 airmen to Texas in support of the Texas Military Department.
“Anytime we have severe weather that impacts our state or neighboring states, our job is to be prepared to provide support,” said Col. Hiram Tabler, director of military support. “We have maintained situational awareness and communications with Texas, ensuring our readiness to launch support once we received the EMAC request.”
Three air crews from the 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (137 AES) will be traveling to the area as well as portable medical equipment suited for the treatment and stabilization of patients during air transportation. The other airmen are from the 137th Special Operations Medical Group (137 SOMDG).
“The Medical Group has been requested by Texas Emergency Management to assist with hospital and nursing home patient evacuation from the Houston area,” said Col. Keith Reed, 137 SOMDG commander. “Our En Route Patient Staging System (ERPSS) includes equipment and medical personnel specially trained to stage and prepare patients for air transport to facilities outside the affected area. We will partner with Texas Air National Guard medical personnel and work until this particular need is met.”
The last time the 137 SOW airmen were deployed in support of domestic operations was in response to the May 20, 2013 EF5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people.