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Texas Air National Guard wing transports 468 Hurricane Harvey evacuees

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Airman 1st Class Douglas Buchanan, 181st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, guides a forklift driver as he loads a fuel tank pallet onto a C-130H2 Hercules at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base Aug. 30, 2017. Fuel tanks were sent to Galveston, Texas to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton/released)

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Master Sgt. Jim Moser, 136th Operational Support Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Douglas Buchanan, 181st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, flip roller conveyors after loading a pallet to Galveston, Texas, Aug. 30, 2017. The pallet contained fuel tanks sent to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton/released)

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Staff Sgt. Ashley Davin, 136th Security Forces member, along with three other Security Forces personnel travel to Galveston, Texas, to assist with support, search and rescue missions in southern Texas. More than 250 personnel from the 136th Airlift Wing are deployed in direct support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton/released)

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Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard members escort Hurricane Harvey evacuees from Galveston airport to a C-130H2 Hercules bound for Dallas-Love Field airport. The 181st Airlift Squadron with the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, transported more than 468 evacuees and 17 pets out of the Galveston and Beaumont areas. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton/released)

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1st Lt. Chad Douglass, 181st Airlift Squadron C-130H2 Hercules co-pilot, conducts aircraft wing safety checks as he prepares to land in Galveston, Texas, August 30, 2017. The 181st Airlift Squadron with the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, are working around the clock to provide personnel, equipment and air support for evacuees in southern Texas. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kristina Overton/released)

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A C-130H2 Hercules with the 136th Airlift Wing, out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, prepares to fly to Houston to drop off medical personnel and equipment from the 136th Medical Group and the 137th Special Operations Medical Group and 137th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams/released)

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An equipment pallet is loaded into a C-130H2 Hercules with the 136th Airlift Wing, out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug. 30, 2017. The pallet contains medical equipment from the 136th Medical Group and the 137th Special Operations Medical Group and 137th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams/released)

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Tech. Sgt. Dirk TerVeer, 181st Airlift Squadron flight engineer, calculates take-off and landing data during a sortie to Houston, Texas, August 30, 2017. The flight on the C-130H2 Hercules out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base dropped off medical personnel and equipment from the 136th Medical Group and the 137th Special Operations Medical Group and 137th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams/released)

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Staff Sgt. Zack Babbidge, 181st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, monitors engine starts for a C-130H2 Hercules at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base prior to a departure to Houston, Texas, Aug. 30, 2017. The flight on the C-130H2 Hercules dropped off medical personnel and equipment from the 136th Medical Group and the 137th Special Operations Medical Group and 137th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman De’Jon Williams/released)

GALVESTON, TX, UNITED STATES -- Hurricane Harvey has been named the most hazardous land-falling tropical cyclone in the continental U.S. The hurricane dropped more than 51 inches of water in a 6-day period, causing an estimated $75 billion in damages.

In support of critical efforts to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, members of the 181st Airlift Squadron with the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, have been working around the clock to provide personnel, equipment and air support for evacuees in southern Texas.

Since the first relief mission Aug. 28, the squadron has flown 60 sorties and relocated 468 evacuees and 17 pets to the Dallas area.

“We got the initial notification on Sunday that we might be coming to the gulf area to support and on Monday they called us early to head out,” said 1st Lt. Chad Douglass, 181st Airlift Squadron C-130H2 Hercules co-pilot. “The weather conditions were pretty bad when we got here, but we made it through and were able to get 70 people out safely that day.”

Primary missions to retrieve evacuees have been out of the Galveston and Beaumont areas. The deployment tempo can change quickly as taskings are issued to the wing, and aircrews must be ready to mobilize on short notice.

“When things happen like this, we are there to support in any way we can,” Douglass said. “I’ve been in for four years and it’s one of the best parts about being a part of the squadron. To know that we are able to help in the effort and get those people out of there. It’s an honor.”

While the evacuation of hundreds of people has been a key part of the 181st Airlift Squadron’s mission, the unit has also delivered personnel and equipment to and from more than 10 locations. The wing shipped 290 tons of equipment including fuel tanks, medical supplies, vehicles, water, and other essential items to the gulf areas for disaster relief.

“This is our job,” said Airman 1st Class Douglas Buchanan, 181st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, “it’s what we signed up to do and trained for. It’s been crazy seeing so many people who have just lost their homes, carrying trash bags containing pretty much all they have left that wasn’t destroyed by the hurricane and flooding. To be able to help them, Texans taking care of Texans, I am proud to be a part of the Guard and proud of them as well for staying as strong as they are.”