First TN Guard unit heads to Florida for hurricane relief ops

Thursday, September 14, 2017 | 08:05am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six Airmen from the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 119th Command and Control Squadron are headed to Camp Blanding near Jacksonville, Fla., to support hurricane relief operations due to Hurricane Irma.

“This is the third hurricane relief operation in which we have sent Airmen to provide support,” said Col. Vincent Franklin, commander of the 119th CACS. The unit has previously provided support to relief operations during hurricanes Katrina and Gustov.

The 119th CACS has a unique capability of establishing communication channels when commercial systems are down. The unit also provided support to first responders and the relief coordination centers after Gatlinburg, Tenn., was devastated by wildfires last year. The unit can also enable state and federal agencies operating on incompatible communications systems to talk to each other.

“One of our most rewarding missions is providing assistance to our fellow countrymen,” said Franklin.

Both the Tennessee Air and Army National Guard are preparing additional units to respond should they be needed. 

“We are waiting to see what, if any, assets we can provide to assist in the Hurricane Irma recovery process”, said Maj. Gen. Max Haston.  “It is imperative that we wait to see what the specific needs are before committing troops and equipment to assist.”

The Tennessee National Guard is the nation’s seventh largest guard state with more than 29,000 Soldiers and Airmen deployed since 9/11/01.