116th Air Control Wing guardsmen help Hurricane Matthew victims recover

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Regina Young
  • 16th Air Control Wing Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.-- Citizen Airmen from the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, answered the call for support to Georgia's southeast coast after Hurricane Matthew devastated the area. 

"The Guard takes two oaths; one to the nation, one to the state," said Col. Jonathan Cox , 116th Mission Support Group, commander. "This was our time to answer the call to the citizens of Georgia and we were there."

Deployed to the coast, civil engineers, maintenance, security forces, and combat communications personnel from the wing augmented civil authorities.

"In a moment's notice these guardsmen left their homes to assist those in need," said Capt. Joel Conrad, officer-in-charge of the road clearance package. "Their skills, willingness and dedication is unmatched."

Airmen from the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron were able to utilize their route clearance kit for the first time during a real-world disaster to remove fallen trees from roadways while working side-by-side with the Chatham County Public Works department.  Airmen from the 116th Maintenance Group assisted engineers in clearing debris from roadways.

"This was my first state mission as a guardsman," said Airman 1st Class Samuel Anderson, 116th Civil Engineer Squadron. "It felt good being able to partner with my state to put the community back together."

"I'm very proud to be serving such a great state," said Senior Airman Desirae Brown, 116th Maintenance Squadron. "The residents were very gracious and grateful."

116th Security Forces, working jointly with Army National Guard military police, augmented local, state and federal agencies with security response and traffic control points.  While on patrol with Glynn County Police Department, security forces also assisted with passing out food and water and helping families return to their residences.

"As a guardsman, I felt a sense of purpose, being able to use our skill-sets to help people was great," said Airman 1st Class Jessica Stroop, 116th Security Forces Squadron. "The residents were very thankful and happy we were there."

"It was motivating to exercise our domestic operations mission," said 1st Lt. Amanda Correll, security forces operations officer.  "For many, this was their first state mission and they got to see how the Army and Air National Guard help civil authorities restore order to affected areas."

Operations liaison officers from the 116th Air Control Wing worked from the Joint Operations Center at Clay National Guard Center, Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta Georgia, to ensure domestic operations personnel and supplies were being sufficiently utilized for hurricane relief efforts in coordination with civil authorities.

The Air National Guard supports the Defense Support of Civil Authorities by utilizing military assets and personnel, providing a variety of capabilities to the state's governor.