Ohio National Guard News

Looking back at Florence:
178th Wing assists with relief efforts for storm-ravaged states

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Rachel Simones, 178th Wing Public Affairs

Three airmen galer around desk to look at computer screen.

Airman at desk looking at monitors.

Airman at video screen, briefing 2 airmen sitting at table.

Airmen with the 178th Wing Incident Awareness and Assessment team assist with flood relief efforts Sept. 14-20, 2018, at Springfield Air National Guard Base in Springfield, Ohio. The team provided imagery analysis to provide situational awareness for emergency responders on the ground in North and South Carolina.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Airmen with the 178th Wing Incident Awareness and Assessment team provided support for states affected by tropical storm Florence in mid-September.

“The Ohio Air National Guard is unique because it can utilize its federal mission sets to assist stateside during times of natural disasters like these,” said Lt. Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald, 178th Wing vice commander.

The 178th Wing IAA team gathered imagery from commercial satellites and publicly provided information to relay to emergency responders on the ground in North Carolina and South Carolina. The information they routinely provide increases lifesaving capabilities and protects key infrastructure.

“We are able to provide incident commanders with situational awareness for the affected areas that we’re working in,” said Staff Sgt. John (last name withheld for security reasons), a member of the 178th Wing IAA team.

The team also coordinated with National Guard Bureau and emergency relief personnel in the affected states to assist their efforts.
“Although we’re representatives for the state of Ohio, it’s gratifying to be able to help other states throughout the country when they are in need,” John said.

The 178th Wing has a history of assisting the nation in times of natural disasters. Last year, Airmen provided imagery analysis for states and territories that sustained damage from multiple hurricanes.

“We provided support last year during hurricane season that occurred in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico,” John said. “It is truly rewarding to utilize our skills throughout the country in times of need.”

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