Returning Hawaii Air National Guardsmen assisting in hurricane relief may be deployed to Florida


People in Texas continue cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and today a group of Hawaii Air National Guardsmen returned to Oahu after helping with relief efforts.

We’re told the guardsmen were also some of the first on the ground in areas recently battered by Irma and it’s possible they’ll be bringing their aloha to Florida next.

After 10 days away, the 16 men and women were greeted by Gov. David Ige and fellow guardsmen.

Those who went told KHON2 they were anxious to help.

“Although the natural disaster wasn’t here in Hawaii, it always hits home when you see all the people in need, the families and the communities that are totally turned upside down,” MSgt. Kerrie Morris said.

The crew was extremely busy during their time away from the islands.

Though they weren’t out in the storm-stricken areas, they had a vital role in relief efforts.

The crew conducted 19 missions which included delivering 2 choppers, 18 vehicles and transporting nearly 200 passengers along with 300,000 lbs. of cargo.

“For us, it was a little bit different dynamic but it was great for us to be out there on the front lines and using some of the things that we do in our training and bring it out there and use it in the real world scenario,” Maj. Michael Namocot said.

We’re told the airmen were some of the first on the ground for relief efforts in the U.S Virgin Islands following hurricane Irma’s destruction there.

“I did get to see video that our maintainers took on the ground and it was crazy. A lot of destruction, devastation. The airport terminal is totally, like everything is falling apart,” MSgt. Morris said.

“We brought some of the first medevac teams, when we got down there, the first mission we did was down in St. Croix. We’d seen a lot of planes going in and out for a lot of medical support,” Maj. Namocot said.

Ige said he’s happy to see the Guardsmen return home but their work isn’t done just yet. They could be deployed to Florida at a moment’s notice.

“We do anticipate, if you look at the video from hurricane Irma, it certainly seems to be as impactful as hurricane Harvey so we expect to be able to respond and support,” Ige said.

Ige said the state has been in contact with federal emergency officials to offer support.

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