Wisconsin, Minnesota National Guard members respond to Florence

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Members of the Wisconsin National Guard prep UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for movement to Maryland in response to Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Capt. Joe Trovato)

Members of the National Guard in Minnesota and Wisconsin are heading east to help assist with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order Friday to send a CH-47 Chinook Heavy Transport Helicopter from the Minnesota National Guard. The four crew members and one liaison officer will arrive in North Carolina to help with aviation support in the area.

“I thank the courageous Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide this critical assistance,” said Governor Dayton in a statement. “Minnesotans stand ready to assist in any way we are able.”

Four Wisconsin National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters are heading to Maryland to stage in standby status until they are called for help. About two dozen crew members make up the team. 

“When things hit the fan and they need help, it’s nice to know that we can go out there and help them and they can gain a greater appreciation for what our training is, what we do and that we’re not just hanging out on drill weekends and going home,” said Sgt. Emily Cash of the Wisconsin National Guard in a press release. “We’re training for a mission every single time we come in here to be able to go and do this stuff if we get called up.”

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Thursday bringing damaging winds and flooding with it. At least four people have died from the storm.