Pennsylvania National Guard Joins Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Efforts


The Pennsylvania National Guard sent 14 crew members and two CH-47 Chinooks yesterday to assist Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Ridilla, a maintenance test pilot with Company B, 628th Aviation Support Battalion, Pennsylvania National Guard, performs final checks on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Ridilla, a maintenance test pilot with Company B, 628th Aviation Support Battalion, Pennsylvania National Guard, performs final checks on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., before a flight mission to Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts, Sept. 26, 2017. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Anna Churco
Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Ridilla, a maintenance test pilot with Company B, 628th Aviation Support Battalion, Pennsylvania National Guard, performs final checks on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Maintenance Test
Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Ridilla, a maintenance test pilot with Company B, 628th Aviation Support Battalion, Pennsylvania National Guard, performs final checks on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., before a flight mission to Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts, Sept. 26, 2017. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Anna Churco

The heavy lift helicopters will be used to support relief and recovery missions throughout the island and assist in efforts to strengthen the badly damaged dam.

Sling-Load Operations

Crews will perform sling-load operations to place extremely large sand bags to reinforce the dam structure. Sling-loading refers to suspending cargo under a helicopter and moving the item from one location to another.

The aircraft and crew are flying multiple missions over the next few days en route to Puerto Rico. Upon arrival, they will integrate with thousands of other National Guard members and first responders.

Additional Pennsylvania National Guard members are on duty in the Pennsylvania National Guard’s joint emergency operations center here. The center maintains continuous communications with the National Guard Bureau and PEMA in order to anticipate future requirements that could be assigned to the Pennsylvania National Guard.

‘Our Thoughts are With the People of Puerto Rico’

“Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico as they recover from this storm,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general. “As always, the Pennsylvania National Guard is proud to assist those in need whenever and wherever we are called.”

Earlier this month the Pennsylvania National Guard sent troops and equipment to support Texas after the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and to Florida after the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.