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Additional CT National Guardsmen heading to help with Hurricane Irma relief efforts

National Guard deploys to Florida

Waltzer said that while the 253rd did not send anyone to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey, the unit's members are experienced in handling storms.

The 38th Infantry Division, based out of Indianapolis, and a team from the 181st Intelligence Wing, based out of Terre Haute, are fully engaged with local, state and federal authorities to assist with life-saving and life-sustaining efforts in Florida.

The storm was then expected to trace the Florida Atlantic coast before making landfall again somewhere between Savannah, Georgia, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

This morning, Hurricane Irma's strong winds and whipping rain are impacting the Florida Keys and the southern Florida mainland, according to news reports. "I thank Maj. Gen. Dunbar and the men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard for their readiness and willingness to assist in response efforts". Twenty-one patients were evacuated, with another 23 planned for evacuation.

"We've got two task forces down there", AG Wilham said, "each of about 500 soldiers".

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda has ordered a complete evacuation of the island as Hurricane Jose, a Category Four cyclone, follows in Irma's wake.

The USS Oak Hill and the USS Kearsarge, ships originally deployed with Marines aboard to respond to Harvey in Texas, were redirected to the Caribbean. Brown said. National Guard and Defense Department units may take time to mobilize, but the Coast Guard, because it falls under the Department of Homeland Security and has bases in numerous places hit by storms, can shift and move resources easily.

During his time in the guard, Knight has deployed to more Hurricane's than he can name, but the memories are still burned in his mind. "We are honored to help our friends and neighbors in Florida".

He warned, however, that forecasts for Irma "are not looking particularly good for Florida".

The pharmacy disaster relief plan, which allows qualifying veterans to receive emergency refills from any retail pharmacy, was also put in effect for affected areas.