AURORA, Colo. – The Colorado National Guard is preparing for two separate missions Wednesday as their troops pack up for Houston to provide relief in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey.
47 airmen will be deployed from Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. The airmen are being sent for medical assistance.
There are another dozen soldiers being sent in helicopters for help with moving food and supplies to and from logistic stations.
“We usually don’t deploy as a unit this much because it’s a big asset to send out,” said SrA (Senior Airman) Gary Johnson.
It’s a rush for Johnson, knowing in just a matter of hours – he’ll be touching down in a disaster zone.
“Seeing all the photos online… it hurts your heart, I just want to be there,” he said.
Col. Bruce Cowan, the medical group commander, said it’s crucial to be able to act fast because the need for medical care in Texas is so severe.
“You have 18 counties that have been declared disaster areas,” said Cowan. “You would normally go to your doctors office but those offices are flooded. All of those thousands of people need healthcare.”
The airmen packed up six trailers full of medical supplies equipped to provide ER care for up to 72 hours.
“As soon as we touch ground we’ll be ready within 90 minutes,” Cowen said.
Tech Sgt. Stephanie Osborne said the hardest part is not knowing what to expect.
“You see what you see on the news, but you don’t know what’s behind the camera,” she said.
Cowen made it clear these men and women usually have an idea of how long they’ll be gone.
“But the truth is, they don’t always know when they’re coming back,” he said.
Note: The other dozen Colorado National Guard soldiers will be deployed via a Chinook helicopter later Wednesday afternoon.