RI National Guard standing by to help with Harvey

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island National Guard is ready to deploy to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, if called.

“We’re ready to do our part, we’re just waiting for the call,” Public Affairs Officer Col. Peter Parente said. He said the National Guard Bureau has put out a list of possible missions, and Rhode Island responded that the Guard is available to accept one.

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Parente said Rhode Island has two C-130J cargo planes and their crew members standing by for a potential mission. It’s the newest model of that plane, and Parente said not every state has one.

“They can carry a lot of different items to support the efforts…building materials, food, water,” Parente said. “They can carry troops, communications equipment, generators. Whatever’s needed to provide relief to those folks.”

The cargo planes can also land where commercial aircraft can’t, according to Parente, which could be key with some Houston airport runways underwater.

“They can drop loads from a high altitude with parachutes or land and offload quickly,” he said.

Parente also said the Rhode Island National Guard could potentially send personnel such as military police to help maintain order in the wake of the storm.

“We feel for those folks down there in Texas. It’s an honor to support them,” Parente said. “Our guys really hope they get the opportunity to do it, because we’ve been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end.”

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