176th Wing members to remain on Gulf Coast in anticipation of Hurricane Ike

An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing refuels over a flooded plain near Galveston, Texas on Sept. 12, 2008. The two Pave Hawks in the photo were deployed to the Gulf Coast region Sept. 1 to perform expected search-and-rescue missions in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. They remained on-station to aid rescue efforts relating to hurricanes Hannah and Ike (pictured). Alaska Air National Guard photo by TSgt. Sean Mitchell.

An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing refuels over a flooded plain near Galveston, Texas on Sept. 12, 2008. The two Pave Hawks in the photo were deployed to the Gulf Coast region Sept. 1 to perform expected search-and-rescue missions in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. They remained on-station to aid rescue efforts relating to hurricanes Hannah and Ike (pictured). Alaska Air National Guard photo by TSgt. Sean Mitchell.

KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Alaska -- The Governor of the State of Texas today formally requested National Guard assistance in anticipation of Hurricane Ike, expected to hit Texas as a Category 4 storm early on the morning of Sept. 13. In response, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin directed the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing to keep two helicopters and approximately 30 wing members -- pararescuemen and helicopter aircrews who deployed Sept. 1 to the Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Gustav - to remain in the Gulf Coast region to support expected search-and-rescue efforts. 

The wing members have been aiding the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - the state's lead search-and-rescue agency - in responding to the effects of Hurricane Gustav, said Lt. Col. Darrin Slaten, a helicopter pilot with the wing's 210th Rescue Squadron and the mission commander. 

"We've covered almost the entire lower half of Louisiana, except for New Orleans, which had plenty of other agencies supporting it," Slaten said. "Gustav came in like a lion, but then came ashore more or less like a lamb. There were still areas without power, and some property damage, but it was nothing like Katrina, which is what everyone was preparing for. We have been covering southern Louisiana to assess the situation, and enable Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to make the determination that the situation is returning to normal." 

Slaten said his group had not, as of yet, been required to perform any evacuations or render medical assistance. 

"Our success here is obviously not measured in saves, but by what we're prepared to accomplish," he noted. "We have the right assets here. Everybody's happy to help. The first four or five days were somewhat hurried, which made for long, busy days for our people. But our guys thrive in that environment, and are ready to do it again." 

The Alaska Air National Guard members are deployed under the auspices of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a program that allows guard units to mobilize upon request to render assistance to other states. Under their current orders they will serve in this capacity until Sept. 17, although that date may be extended depending on the way events unfold in the wake of Hurricane Ike. 

Alaska is one of several state guard organizations rendering assistance to the Gustav impact zone.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.