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Guard Aids Search, Rescue Operation in Oklahoma

From an Oklahoma National Guard News Release

PIEDMONT, Okla., May 26, 2011 – Members of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team were called here early today to assist with a search-and-rescue operation involving a 3-year-old boy.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Members of the 63rd Civil Support Team, Oklahoma National Guard, search the remnants of a house near Piedmont, Okla., for a missing three-year-old boy. The boy was pulled from his house by a tornado, May 24, 2011. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma National Guard.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The boy’s home was destroyed by a tornado that hit the nearby Falcon Lake housing addition yesterday at about 5 p.m.

“These are the types of missions we train for year round,”

Army Lt. Col. Hiram Tabler, commander of the 63rd CST, said. “We will be here providing whatever support the local officials need until the mission is complete.”

Canadian County officials, who were first on scene, secured the area in preparation for search-and-rescue efforts. The 63rd CST set up a communications center to keep track of personnel taking part in the operation.

“The National Guard did an excellent job setting up communications equipment for communication between the different teams being sent out,” Jim Keck, manager for the search and rescue, said. “We don’t usually have this type of support.

“We have trained with the Oklahoma National Guard in the past so they were a great asset to us today,” he added.

Also assisting with the search and rescue were the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Pottawatomie County emergency services, Canadian County emergency services, Piedmont County emergency services, the city of Antler and the local police and sheriff’s departments. Search and rescue dogs also were on site.

Assisting with search and rescue efforts from the air members of Detachment 1, Company A, 1st Battalion, 114th Aviation, of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s counterdrug team. They flew an OH-58 “Kiowa” helicopter, which uses a forward-looking infrared camera system.

Oklahoma Guardsmen had not found the missing boy as of 3 p.m., officials said, but rescue efforts are ongoing.


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Oklahoma National Guard


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