Members of the New York Army National Guard departed Thursday from Long Island MacArthur Airport to take part in recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
Sixty soldiers from the Ronkonkoma-based 3rd Battalion of the 142nd Aviation Regiment loaded shipments of food, water and other supplies as well as four Blackhawk helicopters onto two C-17 aircraft bound for Puerto Rico. They’ll arrive in San Juan Thursday night, according to Richard Goldenberg, New York National Guard public affairs officer.
“Everyone’s pretty anxious and excited to get down there and do what we can to help,” said Meghan Polis, a member of the 3rd Batallion who’s originally from Patchogue.
Polis, 30, expects to help deliver supplies to areas cut off due to flooding or badly damaged roads and bridges, she said.
“After seeing firsthand the unimaginable devastation in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, I am proud that New Yorkers are stepping up to the plate to support our brothers and sisters in need,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a news release.
An additional 120 military police soldiers and 125 engineers from the New York National Guard, as well as 100 members of the New York State Police, were mobilized this week, Goldenberg said.
Personnel from the state Department of Transportation also are being sent to conduct highway restoration work.