CT National Guard sends troops to help Puerto Rico

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — With power lines shredded, roads flooded and buried, water supplies contaminated, and virtually all infrastructure wiped out, Connecticut is now joining other states in sending guardsmen to Puerto Rico.

Major Mike Peterson of the CT National Guard says 13 guardsman took off Tuesday afternoon to help, loading onto a C130 at Bradley International Airport.

There was no fanfare or time for a proper sendoff. It happened so fast there are only a few snapshots as they boarded the plane for Puerto Rico.

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In the plane was not food or water, but life-saving communications equipment that will allow local state and federal agents to communicate across the island.

“Voice, Internet, video, data, so they have that opportunity to get a better picture of what is going on down there,” explained Major Peterson. “What do they need?”

What is impressive about this mission is that the troops that got on the plane they didn’t have Humvees or trucks loaded with communication gear, it was in their packs on their backs.

“We are proud to provide our expertise, and the guardsmen that are from Connecticut will stay on duty until the mission is done,” Major Peterson stated.

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He says they will join other Connecticut-based army and air guard troops already deployed to Houston, Florida and South Carolina in hurricane rescue and relief.

“As of now, just about 50 Connecticut national guardsmen have supported hurricane relief efforts in one way or another, out of state. Obviously, everyone in the Connecticut National Guard remains ready,” Major Peterson explained.

The troops that deployed on Tuesday will be sleeping in tents and working 24/7 to keep the communications up.


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