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Local unit responds to neighbor state request for help

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Seth Skidmore
  • 178th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 178th Wing provided Incident Awareness and Assessment, IAA, support from 2 Jul - 7 July at Springfield Air National Guard base in aid of the W.Va. National Guard flood relief efforts.

The 178th has become the lead IAA unit for the National Guard Bureau in helping out other state relief efforts. This is the second time the unit has helped with natural disaster support.

On June 23, 9 inches of rain fell in an eight hour period on the Nicholas, Kanawha, Greenbrier, and Webster counties, W.Va. in what the National Weather Service called a "one in a thousand year event."

Master Sgt. Glenn Smith, Master Sgt. Robert Holbert, Tech. Sgt. Erin Rogers, and Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reeves, 178th Wing worked third shift the week of July 2 to July 7 to provide analytical products to the West Virginia Adjutant General.

The Airmen provided over 600 products to identify critical infrastructure issues and give damage assessment.  They accomplished this task by using imagery taken by the Civil Air Patrol as well as Commercial satellite imagery.

Lt. Col. Audrey Kawanishi, 178th IAA Director, stated that this capability "allows emergency responders to focus resources effectively, accelerating recovery efforts.  At the same time, we ensure that all work done is in accordance with proper instructions and directives."

They provided overview for debris in river systems, and damage to town infrastructure and bridges in order to help clean up efforts. The information they provided was used to prioritize relief efforts to the right locations. The team also provided search and recovery help using the same assets.

Additionally, the team utilized geographic information systems to provide analysis to the West Virginia TAG on additional infrastructure that could be affected by possible future storms.

The support provided is a good example of the unit working with other state Army and Air guard units.

"This is a good example of cross state total force integration with state to state collaboration" said Master Sergeant Robert Holbert, 178th Wing.