Gov. Sonny Perdue announced today that more than 40 Georgia National Guard members will deploy this week to Texas to provide emergency relief efforts for residents affected by Hurricane Dean, should the storm's course move northward.
Georgia is also preparing for the possible deployment of several aircraft, including Dobbins-based Black Hawk helicopters and heavy lift CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, if they are needed.
"Georgians always show care and generosity to our neighbors in other states struck by disaster," Perdue said in a press release. "Today I'd like to thank our guardsmen who are leaving their families and jobs to answer the call of duty in Texas."
"This is a great opportunity for National Guard units to fine tune our working relationships across state lines,” said Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress. “We routinely work with our neighbors in Florida and Alabama, but this is a chance to hone our response training for a Katrina-size storm a thousand miles away."
Eight members of the Georgia Air National Guard's 283rd Combat Communications Squadron from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta have already departed for Austin, Texas where they will set up vital communications links.
The largest group of Army National Guardsmen that will deploy to Texas will be members of the 171st Aviation Regiment at Dobbins. Approximately 15 soldiers of the unit will form a command and control headquarters for an aviation task force of helicopters and crews from several states. The Georgia aviators will depart Tuesday morning for San Antonio where they will respond, if necessary, to relief efforts along the Texas coast.
Georgia guard officials are monitoring the need to send Georgia’s aircraft and will make a determination on whether or not to deploy the helicopters based on the direction of the storm and the severity of the damage caused by Hurricane Dean, the press release said.