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188th To Help In Virgin Islands With Hurricane Disaster Relief

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Five C-130 H aircrafts and one C-17A will land throughout the day on Wednesday (Sept. 27) at the 188th in Fort Smith.

The aircraft will transport equipment and personnel to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help out with hurricane relief efforts. The aircraft will be coming from five different Air National Guard Units.

Twenty-six 188th civil engineer members will accompany the cargo and deploy for approximately 30 days to St. Thomas. 188th members said the Air National Guard chose Fort Smith airmen to deploy because of their ready preparedness.

"Fort Smith, with our Disaster Relief Beddown Set, was targeted as one of those locations. With it we had not only the equipment but the personnel that are trained and ready to respond," said Leon Dodroe, Vice Commander of the 188th.

The DRBS (Disaster Relief Beddown Set) consists of units that can support housing, showers, latrine, kitchen, electricity and water purification for up to 150 people currently providing relief for residents of the Virgin Islands.

"Setting up these DRBS kits doesn't put any stress on the economy or the electrical grid or anything they are trying to do," said  Master Sergeant Larry Ricketts with the 188th. "It's a small city in a package. We can go down there and set it up all by itself. This DRBS has been called up within the state probably three or four times. It has went down to Haiti with the tsunami and earthquake. Now we are going to the Virgin Islands."

188th members being sent to the Virgin Islands will consist of engineers, plumbers, electricians, heavy equipment operators, structure engineers and power production specialists.