1/21/2010 - FORBES FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Topeka, Kan. --
Friday, the 190th Air Refueling Wing in Topeka will fly supplies and an additional 12 personnel from the Kansas Air National Guard on a KC-135 to approximately 35 Kansas Air National Guardsmen already in Cuba who are preparing for a potential deployment to Haiti, bringing the total number of Kansas Air National Guardsmen in Cuba to 47. They were in Cuba for annual training when the Haiti earthquake struck. The deployment to Haiti could come as early as this weekend and would last up to four months. They will also bring some of the Airmen home who cannot continue on the mission.
The squadron is awaiting official notification of their deployment to Haiti. Upon receipt of that notification, the Kansas Air Guardsmen will be taken to Haiti by military transport for their mission tasking.
The Airmen are in the 190th Civil Engineering Squadron and were asked last week to assist with several base construction projects (staging area) to support the Haiti disaster relief while at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo. The Airmen were asked to volunteer for service in Haiti where they will use their skills in a variety of projects. The additional Airmen are a combined contingency from the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Topeka and the 184th Intelligence Wing, Wichita.
"There is such a great need in Haiti and we're honored to be a part of the response and do whatever we can to assist," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas adjutant general. "These men and women in the Civil Engineering Squadron are prepared for the job at hand and we know they will make a difference there."
The squadron, comprised of construction personnel, utility workers, plumbers and electricians, spent last week preparing for the possible assembly of tents and deployment of other logistical requirements that may be used to support on-site humanitarian assistance.
As part of their original assignment, 190th members worked to install electrical conduits and outlets in the base's migrant processing centers. Near that same area, members also cleared away brush and trees, laying the groundwork for the construction of tents to house migrants after a crisis event, if necessary.
"We know it will be a challenging deployment as the conditions in Haiti are very grave, but these airmen will do their country proud," said Col. Keith Lang, 190th Air Refueling Wing commander.
For additional information, contact Major Chris Hill at 785-861-4593 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Capt Joe Blubaugh (email@example.com) at 785-861-4198 or Sharon Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 785-806-4063.