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178th IAA Airmen skills supported Dorian relief efforts

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the Incident Awareness and Assessment team at the 178th Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, analyze imagery Aug. 13, 2019, at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Michigan. Members worked with Civil Air Patrol to provide imagery analysis of training exercises being conducted by other 178th Wing personnel on the ground at the Alpena CRTC. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Amber Mullen)

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the Incident Awareness and Assessment team at the 178th Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, analyze imagery Aug. 13, 2019, at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Michigan. Members worked with Civil Air Patrol to provide imagery analysis of training exercises being conducted by other 178th Wing personnel on the ground at the Alpena CRTC. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Amber Mullen)

SPRINGFIELD-BECKLEY AIR GUARD BASE, Ohio -- Each year, hurricane season threatens the United States coastline. When hurricanes hit land, they often leave destruction in their paths and devastate cities. In these dark times, Airmen at the 178th Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, are able to use their specialized skills to lend a hand.

Six Airmen assigned to the 178th's Incident Awareness and Assessment team provided hurricane relief support Sept. 1-7, 2019, in response to Hurricane Dorian. The members assisted Florida and South Carolina’s National Guard Joint Operations Centers, each state’s Emergency Management departments, and additional national agencies that provided hurricane support.

“We sent crews out to investigate possible isolation at two rural farm communities,” said Master Sgt. Heath Friessen, an Airman assigned to the IAA team. “We identified four areas in South Carolina that were flooded and had obstructions on the road.”

Through their specialized training, the 178th's IAA Airmen were able to perform critical infrastructure and damage assessments by using imagery analysis of the affected areas. These assessments provided the teams on the ground with information they needed to help those affected by the storms.

By supporting natural disaster missions and using their skillsets, the IAA Airmen are able to learn new techniques and develop more effective ways to accomplish the mission. This increases the Airmen’s capabilities and preparedness to respond to future disaster situations, said Capt. Chelsey Hall, an Airman assigned to the IAA team.

Airmen assigned to the 178th's IAA team used imagery to assist with determining river flooding in Florida and power outages in South Carolina. Providing this information was critical to help local residents deal with the aftermath of the storm.

“This is an opportunity for us to contribute to domestic operations,” said Hall. “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to help local citizens.”

Hurricane season can be destructive and cause extreme turmoil in the lives of those affected. Through working with local National Guard units and state agencies throughout the country, the 178th's IAA team provides valuable support in times of natural disasters.

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