Kentucky Air National Guard combat controllers assist with parachute drops, airfield operations in Haiti
By Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs, Joint Forces Headquarters Kentucky
/ Published January 23, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Two combat controllers from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123d Special Tactics Squadron have been hard at work since arriving here Jan. 16, setting up drop zones and helicopter landing zones, and providing airfield operations and air traffic control at Port-au-Prince International Airport.
The airmen are augmenting a special tactics team from the 720th Special Tactics Group, based at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Their names are not being released as part of the Department of Defense policy protecting the identity of special operations group members.
"These Airmen are doing a remarkable job," said Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, public affairs officer for the Kentucky National Guard, speaking from the Dominican Republic. "In addition to their work at Port-au-Prince, they have scoured the country in helicopters to identify and survey suitable drop zones for the airdrop of relief supplies in otherwise unreachable areas.
"The combat controllers have to take careful consideration to ensure safety for the aircraft, Haitian citizens on the ground and remaining structures. They are doing everything possible to guarantee the relief makes it into the hands of those who are desperately in need. Last Tuesday, one of the combat controllers coordinated the first military C-17 airdrop of relief supplies into Haiti."
Both Airmen are continuing with their mission to locate suitable drop zones as well as provide air traffic control at Port-au-Prince International Airport.
The deployment of the two combat controllers was followed by the deployment of 45 members of the Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Contingency Response Group, which arrived yesterday in the Dominican Republic to assist in airfield operations supporting the relief effort.