Kentucky Air National Guard deploying to the East Coast

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Kentucky National Guard

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) — The Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron is deploying 10 special operators to the East Coast Saturday morning in response to Tropical Storm Florence, which is bashing the Carolinas with extreme flooding.

The Airmen, who can provide stand-alone communications, air traffic control, personnel recovery and paramedic capabilities, will depart aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft en route to Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, said Maj. Aaron Zamora, 123rd STS commander.

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The Airmen will stand alert at NAS Oceana so they can respond rapidly as conditions permit, Zamora added. They’re deploying with a variety of disaster-response equipment, including Zodiac boats and swift-water rescue gear.

Zamora noted that the Kentucky unit was highly engaged in hurricane-recovery efforts last year, deploying more than 40 Airmen in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The unit’s operators rescued 336 citizens stranded by flood waters in Texas and controlled 636 rescue aircraft evacuating 1,286 citizens from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

The Kentucky Air Guard deployed two other members of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron earlier this week.

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Seifert left for Virginia on Wednesday, and Capt. Hunter Williams deployed to South Carolina on Thursday. Seifert is serving as a search-and-rescue liaison for the Virginia National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters, while Williams is acting as the air-ground integration liaison to the South Carolina Joint Operations Center, Zamora said.