Alaska Air National Guard members head to Texas

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska National Guard 12th Squadron has sent 14 members to Houston, Texas to help provide Hurricane Harvey humanitarian disaster relief operations in Texas.

    Lt. Colonel Candis Olmstead said the pararescuemen and combat rescue officers have special training that will come in handy there.
    "They have special medical training, they receive a lot of combat training.  Their primary federal mission is combat search and rescue," she noted.
    The group began to make rescues on Wednesday.  

    Olmstead said these rescue attempts can be risky to all involved, "there is a lot of water down there.  In any rescue operation there are inherent dangers and risk, the water, the current, the state of the water, different vehicles and boats in the area, trying to navigate, and trying to get people and their pets out of their homes to safety."

    The crews also includes highly trained medical personnell that can provide immediate medical treatment to those in need.
    That is important with because it can take a long time to get patients to a hospital there.

    Olmstead said the Air National Guard is used to rescues with over 1,600 of them performed in Alaska since 1992.  "They cover the largest state in the country, with lots of areas off the road system.  We have a lot of outdoor enthusiasts who like to hunt, fish and hike.  We bring in tourists and visitors from all over the world.  People can get lost and injured very easily.  I think the citizens of Alaska are very lucky to have the Air National Guard ready to respond when they are needed."



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