SANTA CLARA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Air National Guardsmen from the Bay Area headed to Florida Friday so they will be there to help victims of Hurricane Irma once the massive storm makes landfall this weekend.
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A C-130 transport plane was full of Air National Guardsmen and women who are uncertain about what they will face once they — and the hurricane — arrive.
100 members of the 129th Rescue Wing are heading to the east coast to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
“We’re always ready to answer that call,” said Air National Guard Capt. Roderick Bersamina.
Many of the Guard members just returned from Texas where they are credited with saving 113 people after Hurricane Harvey.
“This one, I’m really worried,” said Danielle Valdez, whose husband was among the guardsmen flying out. “Harvey was afterward. This time they’re going in beforehand.”
Valdez’s husband was only home for six days.
“It’s hard. It’s hard for the kids trying to keep them busy and distracted and not upset,” said Valdez.READ MORE: AC Transit Adding Additional Service; Some Lines Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels
She brought them to the tarmac at Moffett Field Friday morning to say goodbye to their dad again.
“[I feel] kinda bad, but he will survive it. no matter what,” said 7-year-old Owen Valdez,
The Guard’s mission in Florida will be similar to what it was in Texas. They will mostly focus on rescuing people trapped by floodwaters.
They’re also bringing two helicopters with highly trained pararescuers on board.
“The 129th rescue wing will be out there for as long as we’re tasked to be out there,” said Capt. Bersamina.
As hard as it is to be apart, Valdez understands the importance of her husband’s mission.
“In situations like these, when they’re going and saving lives, it makes it worth it. Because you know they’re doing something good,” she said..MORE NEWS: COVID: Bay Area Health Officials Say Some Areas Would Be Vulnerable To Omicron Variant; Holdouts Seek Vaccine
The Guard members who left Friday make up about 10 percent of the force at Moffett Field, so there are still about 900 left in case help is needed for a local disaster of our own.