Oklahoma Air National Guard medical operations groups mobilized to aid Texas in Harvey aftermath

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A Texas Air National Guard C-130 Hercules, with the Texas Air National Guard, sits on the tarmac at Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Destined for Carswell Field in Texas, the plane is carrying members and equipment from the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Special Operations Wing to assist in medical evacuations in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (KFOR/Bill Miston)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Air crews from the Oklahoma Air National Guard, specializing in medical evacuations, are being mobilized to help Texans in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“Obviously the storm isn’t through wreaking its havoc as it’s back out in the coast and makes landfall again this afternoon,” said Col. Devin Wooden, Commander of the 137th Special Operations Wing. “We could be there for quite some time and this, obviously, is going to be an environmental disaster that’s going to take quite a bit of time to recover from.”

Members of the wing’s Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Special Operations Medical Group took off Tuesday evening for Carswell Field at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in North Texas, having been requested by Texas Emergency Management.

Along for the ride on the Texas Air National Guard C-130 Hercules transport plane, with the 136th Airlift Wing, were hundreds of pounds of medical equipment, used to assist in patient triage.

“This is a combination of equipment and medically trained personnel that can go to prepare patients for air transport,” said Col. Keith Reid, commander of the Special Operations Medical Group. “They will set up their medical equipment, everything they need to transition patients from ambulances or helicopters onto that are sufficient to go on a military transport plane.”

Reed says the units are preparing to go to Houston to assist with hospital and nursing home patient evacuations, when called on by Texas Emergency Management.

“Move these hospital patients, or nursing home patients, so these are people that are already in a medical system and our purpose is to move them out from the affected area to other hospitals around the country that are prepared to receive them in,” Reed said.

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