JANUARY 23, 2020 – Around 25 Airmen of the Ohio Air National Guard, 200th RED HORSE Squadron, Mansfield, Ohio, departed for Puerto Rico following activation by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in response to Puerto Rico earthquake relief efforts, Jan. 17, 2020. Along with personnel, the Ohio National Guard unit is contributing two Disaster Response Bed-down Systems, each of them self-sufficient with organic power and potable water systems which provides billeting, health and hygiene support for 150 people in support of domestic response activities.
After packing up the DRBS and sending their equipment ahead of them, Airmen of the 200th RHS packed their bags and loaded onto a bus to leave Mansfield in the middle of the night. Some of the Airmen are seasoned veterans of deploying with the unit, others finding themselves on their first voyage.
Col. Michael Hrynciw, commander of the 200th RHS, spoke to Airmen about the unique opportunity ahead of them to represent the unit, their state and their country in a time of need.
Hrynciw said, “Some of you may have deployed in support of contingencies around the globe before, but most of you have never been activated by our state Governor to support a disaster outside the state of Ohio, it’s a historical moment and a chance to help the people on that island, I know you’ll represent us well and make us all very proud.”
Airman First Class David Young and Airman Alexis Miller, new members to the unit shared their feelings on getting the call to support this effort.
Miller said, “I’m an electrician in the Air Force, and so I hope to learn a lot from this trip, get more knowledge for my electrician career and help the Puerto Ricans out.”
Young expressed what a privilege he felt it was to be selected to go on this kind of trip so early in his career.
“To know that there are people in need, and that we have the capability to go fulfill that need to help them, support them and actually take part in that humanitarian effort, it’s a huge honor and a privilege.” Young added, “I mean, that’s the reason I joined. That’s the reason why a lot of us joined, and to get to so quickly, for me as a young Airman right out of technical school, it’s exciting and I’m excited for the opportunity to go help some people out.”
Story by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Harwood
179th Airlift Wing