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JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska—The Alaska Air National Guard is stepping up to assist with Hurricane Harvey humanitarian disaster relief operations. The 176th Wing deployed 21 Airmen in one of their C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, en route to Fort Hood, Texas this morning.
Two aircrews from the 249th Airlift Squadron and 13 Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron, a crew chief and a photographer, departed at 10:45 a.m. They stopped at Moffett Federal Airfield, California to pick up two California Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters—which can be configured to fit inside of the massive C-17—and seven support personnel to transport to Texas.
The Pave Hawks and Guardian Angels will be tasked with missions to support the Texas National Guard and the state of Texas with search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and as ongoing storm conditions continue to inflict damage.
Guardian Angels are a team of combat rescue officers, pararescuemen, and survival, evasion, resistance, and escape specialists who are uniquely trained personnel recovery professionals. They are a non-aircraft, equipment-based, human weapon system whose primary mission is combat rescue.
Because of their unique capabilities, they have been called upon to assist with the rescue of thousands of civilians worldwide during catastrophic natural disasters and other humanitarian response.
Guardian Angel teams from the 212th Rescue Squadron previously assisted with search and rescue in support of relief operations after Hurricane Katrina and the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, and Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008.
In Alaska—where locals and visitors enjoy the outdoors, often in extreme conditions—members of the 176th Wing’s three rescue squadrons have performed more than 1,600 saves for those who have become lost or injured since 1991.