S.C. Squadron Hosts Pa. Chopper Crew Aiding in Florence Response
1st Lt. Rachael J. Mercer
Public Affairs Officer
South Carolina Wing
The South Carolina Wing’s Florence Composite Squadron provided accommodations for the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team after Hurricane Florence made landfall in South Carolina on Sept. 14.
The eight-man crew was able to land its Black Hawk helicopter at the helipad outside the Florence squadron’s headquarters, based along the Interstate 95 corridor, and rest in the unit’s building between missions.
“Being based out of the Florence squadron building allowed them to respond more quickly to those in need,” said CAP 1st Lt. Jane Proell, Florence deputy commander for cadets.
“The team indicated that meeting a rescue request would have taken 45 minutes to an hour if they had to fly from their pre-strike location. Their proximity to the rescue area meant they could potentially be in a rescue situation within 15 minutes,” Proell said.
PA-HART is a joint partnership among the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, along with credentialed civilian rescue technicians.
In addition to hosting the PA-HART team, three Florence members — Lt. Col. William B. Cheney III, 1st Lt. Christopher Hawley and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Spencer Taylor — have worked to monitor the extreme eastern portion of South Carolina with a radio repeater.
Recently the Florence squadron completed renovations of its facility, which made accommodating the eight-man Pennsylvania aircrew easier. In addition, the squadron was officially announced today as one of seven Quality Cadet Units in the South Carolina Wing.
CAP, acting as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, is supporting Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) during Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations following the landfall of Hurricane Florence on the East Coast. AFNORTH’s primary role is to support U.S. Northern Command’s efforts to provide assistance to FEMA's relief efforts.