Hancock Air National Guard, NY --
SYRACUSE, NY – Airmen from the 174th Attack Wing stepped into action to provide services to Buffalo faced the region’s deadliest blizzard in at least 50 years over the Christmas weekend.
The 174th was able to provide 40 airmen to travel out west to help the residents in need. However, it all started right here in Syracuse.
To support the mission, personnel from several offices came in to process the deployers. 16 members from a range of career fields were able to provide these members with what they needed and send them out the door fast.
Airmen were at home enjoying their holiday vacation when they got the call that volunteers were needed to support the mission.
“I got the initial call on Christmas Eve to see if I was available,” said Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Sheppard, NCOIC Clothing Issue. “I didn’t hesitate to come out to help.”
Sheppard supported the deployers by issuing cold weather gear as needed. He arrived at work early that morning to begin preparing for a busy day.
Airmen from the Medical Group also came in the early hours of the day to process members. Chief Master Sgt. Shaun Tebo and Master Sgt. Emily Blais made sure each person was medically cleared and then briefed the members on all of the concerns about the environment they were going into.
“Public Health’s role is to make sure all of our members are medically cleared and ready to go on State Active Duty,” said Captain Jessica Strassle, OIC, 174th Attack Wing Public Health. “We make sure they are up to date on immunizations, they don’t have injuries, and there’s no special medications or medical equipment they need that would impede their ability to successfully take care of others.”
From start to finish, the Emergency Management team was organizing it all. They started with giving members the initial notification and then began to organize the travel plans. During the mission, the team kept in constant communication with the state headquarters and eventually made sure all airmen returned home safely.
“The 174th members really came together to help the Buffalo community,”said Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Scuderi, 174th Attack Wing Emergency Manager.
Master Sgt. Jennifer Coty, 174th Attack Wing Personnelist, came to the wing to support the mission on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. She was tasked with using a system that keeps 100% accountability of all airmen from the time they are asked to deploy to when they return to their home of record.
“Everything went great,” said Coty. “The airmen that we deployed were just so gracious and set aside their personal feelings to step up and help.”
With the essential support from our member’s at home station, the 174th Attack Wing airmen were able to conduct 137 welfare checks, handed out 27 cases of water, and 27 cases of MRE’s to the Buffalo community. A job well done to everyone.