SPRINGFIELD – January 18, 2010. Members of the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield have been activated to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti in the first such mobilization of Illinois National Guard forces.
Five members of the Springfield-based unit are en route today to U.S. Air Forces Southern Command at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
There they will support the 612th Air and Space Operations Center in coordinating the delivery of disaster relief supplies to Haiti. An additional 12 members of the unit have been alerted and will be joining their fellow Guard members in Arizona soon.
“I’m proud that the Illinois National Guard has been called upon to support the people of Haiti in their time of need,” said Governor Quinn. “This state will do all that it can to assist in this international effort.”
The Illinois National Guard is ready to help whenever and wherever they are needed, said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.
“I know my troops have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to help. Our hearts are with the people of Haiti and I’m proud that our hands and heads will now be put to work to assist.”
Andrew Velasquez III, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said Illinois has a lot to offer to the Haitian relief effort."
The U.S. response to Haiti is a massive effort being coordinated by the federal government," Velasquez said. "Today, the Illinois National Guard is answering the call for assistance, and the State of Illinois stands ready to deploy our considerable response assets if other resources are requested."
Illinois now joins 11 states and Puerto Rico in providing National Guard forces to the relief effort.