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260th ATCS Airmen deploy to Puerto Rico

Airmen from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron, 157th Air Refueling Wing, pose for a group picture prior to their deployment to Puerto Rico in support of the hurricane relief effort on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. They will join Airmen from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard, and assist in the air control mission at an airfield in PR. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Airmen from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron, 157th Air Refueling Wing, pose for a group picture prior to their deployment to Puerto Rico in support of the hurricane relief effort on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. They will join Airmen from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard, and assist in the air control mission at an airfield in PR. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Airmen assigned to the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron load baggage onto a KC-135 Stratotanker prior to their departure to Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.  They will join Airmen from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard and augment the air control efforts at an airfield in Puerto Rico. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Airmen assigned to the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron load baggage onto a KC-135 Stratotanker prior to their departure to Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. They will join Airmen from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard and augment the air control efforts at an airfield in Puerto Rico. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Senior Airman Brad Barry, assigned to the 64th Air Refueling Squadron, 157th Air Refueling Wing, loads bags onto a KC-135 Stratotanker for the twelve N.H. Air National Guardsmen deploying from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron in support of the ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. The Airmen will augment a group from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard, and support the air control mission in Puerto Rico.  (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Senior Airman Brad Barry, assigned to the 64th Air Refueling Squadron, 157th Air Refueling Wing, loads bags onto a KC-135 Stratotanker for the twelve N.H. Air National Guardsmen deploying from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron in support of the ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. The Airmen will augment a group from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard, and support the air control mission in Puerto Rico. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron help load baggage onto a KC-135 Stratotanker prior to the departure of twelve airman from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron deploying in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. They will join Airman from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard and augment the air control efforts at an airfield. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron help load baggage onto a KC-135 Stratotanker prior to the departure of twelve airman from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron deploying in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. They will join Airman from the 235th ATCS, North Carolina Air National Guard and augment the air control efforts at an airfield. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --

On a cold New Hampshire day, 12 members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Air Traffic Control Squadron deployed in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, from Pease Air National Guard Base.

The Airmen will augment an existing air traffic control element from the 235th ATC, North Carolina Air National Guard, at an airfield in Ponce, Puerto Rico.  

“The airfield in Ponce is an uncontrolled airfield, meaning there are no operational air traffic control towers for the field,” Said Lt. Col. Charles Smith, commander of the 260th ATCS. “Due to all the military flights of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in and out of the field for the hurricane relief effort, they decided to bring in an ATCS.”

The team will operate from an MSN-7 mobile tower system belonging to the 241st ATCS, Missouri Air National Guard. The mobile tower is a Humvee with an air traffic control tower mounted on top of it, explained Smith.

The team will remain in Puerto Rico for approximately thirty days, through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Everybody volunteered knowing they would be missing the holiday with their families, said Smith.

The twelve ATCS Airman are now part of the fifty three Air National Guard members who have already deployed for the relief effort to date.

“To me, this is what the guard is,” said Smith. “This is what we do when people need help, we go.”
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