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Kentucky Air Guardsmen deploying for Hurricane Harvey rescue operations

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Eighteen Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron departed here tonight for Texas, where they will assist with rescue and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The Airmen are deploying to Robert Gray Army Air Field at Fort Hood, Texas, pending further instructions.

Among the deploying personnel are 14 Airmen who will comprise two Personnel Recovery Teams. These Airmen have expertise in swift-water rescue, confined-space operations and emergency medical care. They will deploy with a variety of equipment suited to hurricane recovery operations, including inflatable motor boats.

Also deploying tonight are four Airmen who will stand up and staff an Austere Special Tactics Operations Center.

The Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron has extensive experience with hurricane rescue and recovery operations. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, members of the unit established and operated a helicopter landing zone on a highway overpass in New Orleans, helping evacuate nearly 12,000 citizens.

“These Airmen are some of the most dedicated and professional special operators in the entire United States Armed Forces,” said Col. David Mounkes, commander of the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they work to assist residents who have been stranded by Hurricane Harvey and the historic flooding in Texas.”