Ill. National Guard prepares for East Cost deployment

August 27, 2011 9:09:07 PM PDT
Gov. Pat Quinn is dispatching Illinois National Guard troops and other emergency workers to New York to help prepare for Hurricane Irene.

About 120 soldiers with the 106th Aviation Battalion will leave Sunday from Peoria. About 1,000 troops overall have been called back to their armories on training orders to prepare for deployment.

About 100 members of the 405th Brigade Support Battalion gathered at the National Guard Armory in Crestwood Saturday afternoon, waiting for word on whether or not they will be deployed to the East Coast.

"It was a surprise, but we're always proud to serve and give our assistance. So called all my subordinates and told them we had the opportunity to serve," said Lt.Charles Noble, Illinois National Guard.

The National Guard soldiers in Crestwood have been gathering together supplies and making final checks on equipment. They are getting a refresher course in how to use Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, which can be used as mobile workspaces for communications or other purposes.

Many of the men and women with the Illinois National Guard have expertise in fixing all things mechanical, but it's unclear what their mission might be and where they might go exactly if they are deployed out east.

Some of the National Guard members also have hurricane relief experience. Spc. Jose Manuel Aviles, Jr. and Sgt. Patrick Brown spent weeks in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Seeing is believing ,and when you're there to see those type of things that happened, it's more along the lines of you want to make sure it don't happen again, and to be there for others that need help and support," Brown said.

"I just hope that I am able to do my job and help the people that are over there. It's going to be rough on them," Aviles said.

The efforts by the Illinois National Guard are part of the mutual aid agreement of New York State.

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