Members of 174th Air National Guard return home from Hurricane Sandy relief effort
Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:43:16 GMT —
Nine of the 101 National Guardsmen deployed down state in Staten Island returned home on a Black Hawk helicopter after eight days supporting the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
Their mission was to deliver the necessities like food, water, blankets, and fuel.
The devastation was worse than expected, but Major Anthony Pasquale says the strength of the victims was more than he could have ever expected.
"They were definitely up in spirits. It wasn't a depressing scene. It was visually based on the debris but the people there were great. We were handing out food and water and they kept asking us what we needed," says Pasquale.
Sargent Raymond Herr says it was hard to see people living in such terrible conditions.
"The people were cold, tired. A lot of them looked desperate, hopeless. You saw everything from houses that were completely demolished to people who just didn't have electricity or running water at the time," says Herr.
After eight tireless days down state, the guardsmen still have every intention of voting.
"I'm definitely going to vote. At least in our unit, we got all the guys the opportunity to vote," says Pasquale.
They have a few days to shower and regroup before heading back. The Vice Commander of the 174th Attack Wing, Colonel John Balbierer, says his men will provide help for as long as they're needed.
"We keep hearing 7-10 days but everyday is 7-10 days. So we're not exactly sure. But you can bet the 174th will be there as long as we need to be," says Balbierer.
20 men will be leaving tomorrow and another 20 on Thursday to relieve the guardsmen who are still stationed down state. Still no word on when they will no longer be needed in the hard hit areas.