167th AES Deploys for Hurricane Gustov

September 6, 2008 -- MARTINSURG - A five-member crew from the 167th Airlift Wing's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed Aug. 29 to assist evacuation efforts in Louisiana when Hurricane Gustov blew ashore on Labor Day.
"A Texas bird came and got them," said Chief Master Sgt. Harry Martz, deployment manager for the 167th AES and health system specialist for the unit.
Martz said a C-130 from the Texas Air National Guard flew the Martinsburg Airmen to the Lone Star State. The local Airmen were asked to respond for evacuation efforts ahead of the recent hurricane.
"They were assisting with the evacuation with some of the local hospitals in the Louisiana area," he said. "All Guard units as a whole had been prepping for just this occasion."
The crew participated in missions that evacuated 61 patients from hospitals in Louisiana.
Chief Martz said it was determined that AES Guard units from Delaware, Wyoming and West Virginia would respond to Hurricane Gustov.
"There are only 10 Guard AES units in the whole country," he said.
Martz said the Airman were able to apply their skills to a real world mission.
Capt. Jack Bartley, Capt. Mike Gillespie, Staff Sgt. Joe Harper, Senior Airman Kevin Crabtree and Senior Airman Kristopher Teague comprised the crew from the 167th AES. The crew landed back in Martinsburg shortly after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"I was surprised that they got back so soon," Martz said.
He said he wasn't sure if the levees would hold. Fortunately they did and more people didn't have to be evacuated.