Maj. Paul Hanson operations officer with 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment talks about heading to Houston to assist with the Hurricane Harvey aftermath.
David Burge/El Paso Times
Soldiers and helicopters from Fort Bliss’ Combat Aviation Brigade are joining the relief effort in the wake of devastating Hurricane Harvey.
About 90 soldiers from the Combat Aviation Brigade — primarily from its 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment — were scheduled to leave Tuesday with some additional elements from the brigade headquarters leaving on Wednesday, Fort Bliss officials said.
The task force will bring up to 25 Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters with it, said Maj. Paul Hanson, the operations officer with the 2-501st.
These soldiers will do their initial staging at Kelly Airfield in San Antonio and then will conduct search-and-rescue and other relief operations, as called upon, in the Gulf Coast area hit hard by the hurricane.
“We are excited to do our mission and excited to be able to provide some relief from some suffering in the Houston area,” said Hanson, from Rapid City, S.D. “It is unfortunate it has happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.”
The 2-501st and the Combat Aviation Brigade headquarters are both part of a larger response force that is tasked with providing quick help after a natural disaster or an attack on the United States. They are expecting to be gone anywhere from two weeks to a month.
The 2-501st returned just a few days ago from doing a training rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., where it supported Fort Bliss’ 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
“It is a quick turn for us to reset our soldiers and reset our aircraft and equipment and go…