OK National Guard Leading The Charge To Help Harvey Victims
HOUSTON - Gov. Mary Fallin has issued a state of emergency, allowing Oklahoma National Guard members to help rescue victims in southeast Texas.
News 9's Grant Hermes got an exclusive ride along with an air mission to Houston.
The Oklahoma Air National Guard is tasked with being a lead team on the ground at Houston's newly reopened George Bush International Airport.
“What we do is set up a hospital in the back of a C-130. Those are probably the aircrafts we're going to use, and we'll just set that hospital up in the back of that plane and treat patients as we need,” said Lt. Col. June Oldman.
Those hospitals come complete and are capable of running a full intensive care unit from a disaster zone.
National Guard Crews from around the state of Texas have only been able to run a few rescue missions. Mostly, to island towns where lower flood waters and high ground have allowed for safe landings.
But in the nation's fourth largest city, it was an impossibility. Highways and evacuation routes became lakes and rivers. Thousands of American refugees have been trapped and stranded in a place that no longer looks like home.
That is until now, the National Guard plane is wheels up.
“The mission here is short. The plane will only be on the ground for about 30 minutes. Just enough time to off load and then turn. The crew, however, will be here for about 36 hours,” said News 9’s Grant Hermes.
And 36 hours is likely just the beginning. Guard members will get more supplies from returning planes, knowing they'll stay as long as they're needed.
“We come down here with a heavy heart because we know that people in Houston and people in Texas are suffering, and we want to see if we can come down here and help,” said Major Matt Jones.