JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Twenty soldiers and airmen of the Mississippi National Guard (MSNG) completed their emergency response mission in Florida, October 6, 2022.
The guardsmen left Mississippi September 29 for a week-long deployment in support of the Florida National Guard, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and local civil and emergency response personnel during Hurricane Ian relief efforts in the vicinity of Fort Myers.
Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) approved an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request September 28 for MSNG assistance in response and recovery operations in Florida following Hurricane Ian’s destructive path across the state.
Eleven Mississippi Army National Guard Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, based in Meridian, used two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to provide heavy helicopter support to the Florida National Guard Aviation teams.
“Mississippi Aviation has always stood ready to assist our neighboring states during their times of need,” said Col. Bradley Howe, state army aviation officer for the Mississippi Army National Guard. “Our Chinook unit has a special connection to Florida since the other half of their company is located in Jacksonville.”
Company B, with just two helicopters and 11 Soldiers, completed more than 37 flight hours, transported nearly 250 passengers, and moved more than 102,000 pounds of cargo in just five days of operations.
Members of the Mississippi Air National Guard’s 255th Air Control Squadron (ACS), based in Gulfport, also deployed to provide technical communication support to state and local emergency services and military organizations from their tactical operations center in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The Airmen were tasked with supporting 3rd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment, Florida Army National Guard, using their expertise in the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC).
The 255th has experience in operating communications capability systems during natural disaster response and relief efforts throughout the South.