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Pennsylvania Guard to Broadcast to Haitians

By Airman 1st Class Claire Behney
Special to American Forces Press Service

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 15, 2010 – The Pennsylvania National Guard is sending a uniquely equipped plane to Haiti to provide radio and television broadcasts to keep the people of the earthquake-stricken nation informed as rescue and humanitarian missions continue. 

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Airmen assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard load a C-130J as they prepare to depart Middletown, Pa., for Haiti, Jan. 15, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David Hawkins

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
About 50 airmen and three C-130 aircraft assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing will provide rapid communications response capabilities to all of Hispaniola, which comprises Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Two of the aircraft are cargo aircraft. The third, named Commando Solo, is an airborne radio and television station that will provide important information to the Haitian people as U.S. and international search and rescue and humanitarian aid missions continue.

In what he described as an "unprecedented humanitarian mission," Gov. Edward G. Rendell said that the Pennsylvania Air National Guard had been called out to support the Air Force Special Operations Command mission in Haiti.

One of the aircraft departed late on Jan. 14, the other two aircraft left Middletown, Pa., today.

"Our National Guard is honored to extend a helping hand to the people of Haiti. I am proud of these dedicated airmen, who are always ready to answer the call of duty, whether it is for combat missions or to aid those in need," said Army Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, the adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The 193rd was last called to serve in Haiti more than a decade ago. In 1994, Commando Solo was used to broadcast radio and television messages to the citizens and leaders of Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. This is, however, the first humanitarian mission of its type for the wing.

(Airman 1st Class Claire Behney is assigned to the Pennsylvania National Guard.)

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