Georgia Guardsmen activated for Hurricane Sandy operations

Text from Georgia National Guard Press Release, Photos from the Georgia National  Guard’s Flickr Page.

CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Ga., Oct. 30, 2012 – Elements of the Georgia National Guard have been activated, with the support of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, to assist relief operations in states impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Aircraft of the Georgia Guard’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) will mobilize from Hunter Army Airfield today to provide heavy airlift capability to the relief effort.

Georgia Army Guard aviation received its fourth in a series of six new heavy lift helicopters yesterday outside Hangar No. 1, home to Georgia’s 78th Aviation Troop Command. A small group of Guardsmen and civilian employees from around post, were on hand to welcome the new CH-47F Chinook when it landed on the tarmac outside Hangar No. 1. (6 June 2012)

Major Gen. Jim Butterworth, Georgia’s Adjutant General, informed Gen. Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, that the Georgia Guard was ready and willing to assist in all relief operations.

“We are prepared to assist our sister states,” said Butterworth. “We have 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen ready to help.”

The Georgia Guardsmen of the 1-169th GSAB fly the CH-47 Chinook, one of the heaviest cargo helicopters in service. The CH-47 has seen extensive service in the nation’s conflicts and domestic relief operations.

Spc. Kevin Ruckman, a Soldier with the 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division prepares to sling load a water blivet to a CH-47 Chinook flown by the Georgia National Guard, Sept. 19, at Camp Oliver during a training exercise on Fort Stewart, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sarah Bailey, 703rd BSB, 4th IBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

The Georgia Army National Guard consists of more than 11,100 Citizen-Soldiers training in more than 80 hometown armories and regional facilities across the state. Georgia’s Army National Guard is the eighth largest in the nation and includes combat, combat support and combat service support units. The Georgia Army National Guard is organized into five major subordinate commands: the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of Macon; the 78th Homeland Response Force at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta; the 78th Aviation Troop Command, also at Clay; the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade at Fort Gillem; and the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Columbus at Fort Benning.

Co-pilot 1st Lt. Colin Downey (left) and pilot Chief Warrant Officer 3 Duane Sandbothe go through their pre-flight checklist inside the all-digital cockpit of their CH-47F. (6 June 2012)

Mac’s Note:  Ironically, B/1-169 GSAB’s static callsign is HURRICANE.  It’s good to see Georgia’s Guardsmen responding to our country’s needs once again.  This time, they’re responding with their new CH-47Fs, I believe it’s the first time the GA ARNG’s F-models have been used in such a response.  Don’t forget that in 2005 they responded to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and participated in efforts to fill broken levees among other duties.

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