The Iowa National Guard is sending 24 airmen to Puerto Rico tomorrow morning to help with response to Hurricane Maria by assisting local law enforcement.
Iowa National Guard spokesman Colonel Greg Hapgood says it’s rare to deploy airmen solely for security assistance. Usually a mission’s focus is something like transportation or water purification. But due to the catastrophic devastation in Puerto Rico, Hapgood says security assistance is key towards stabilizing the U.S. territory.
"Virtually the entire island is out of electricity, food and water are scare," he says. "You’ve got all kinds of issues that arise from the damages that have occurred there, whether it’s medical or health or other things. So my guess is they’re really working hard in Puerto Rico to make sure that they can stabilize the territory in order to get the quickest, best response possible."
The airmen come from units in Sioux City and Des Moines. They will likely be in Puerto Rico for one to two weeks.