TOWN OF NIAGARA — In the face of national disaster, 75 members of the 107th Airlift Wing stationed at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station decided they needed to help in any way they could.
Tuesday, they went to the New York City area to once again help with hurricane relief efforts, this time following Sandy’s destruction.
“Last night, watching the coverage of the storm, it was awful,” First Lt. Cory Bota, one of the wing’s volunteers, said. “Last year, we were there to help with Hurricane Irene ... and we’re happy to assist again.”
Details of the wing’s mission as members of the Air National Guard aren’t known as the scene they encounter in New York City when they arrive will determine what’s needed. But wing commanding officer Col. Jim McCready said his forces could assist with anything from helping New York Police Department with patrols to cleaning up roads and rescue operations.
It’s also unknown at this time how long the unit will remain as conditions will also determine the length of their stay.
McCready said helping with hurricane relief in any way is the intention of the guard and his members stepped up in the wake of record devastation in the country’s most populated city.
“This is the natural mission for the guard,” he said. “This is what we do. It’s part of our domestic mission to help out in these circumstances.”
The mission took his crew from the Niagara airbase to Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., where they’ll take a bus to Fort Smith outside Peekskill in hard-hit Westchester County. They were expected to arrive around 8 p.m. Tuesday.
They’re part of a 2,290-member force ordered to duty by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to respond to the storm.