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Puerto Rico Airmen process relief support from Ohio, New Mexico ANG

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Caycee Watson, Lt. Col. Alexander Santiago
  • 156th Wing/Public Affairs

Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Mission Support Group Airmen are providing the gateway to support efforts for units that traveled to Puerto Rico after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake caused damage in five southwest municipalities on the island.

Specialized teams of Airmen from the Ohio and New Mexico Air National Guard’s Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadrons, or RED HORSE, recently landed in Puerto Rico to deliver Disaster Relief Bed-down Sets. This package of equipment is a self-contained deployable kit that includes sleeping quarters, latrines, showers, laundry, tents, water purification kits, and other basic support items for deployed and activated service members.

Each RED HORSE unit provided one DRBS package that can support 150 people. The Disaster Relief Bed-down Sets were unloaded at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, where Puerto Rico National Guard Soldiers transported the equipment in a convoy to Guayanilla and Guánica. 

In order to efficiently and effectively receive the support from outside units, the 156th Mission Support Group hosted the Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration process at Muñiz Air National Guard Base.

“The JRSOI is a process which transitions personnel, equipment and materials into forces capable of meeting the commander’s operational requirements,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Santiago, the 156th Force Support Squadron commander.

PRANG personnel briefed the Ohio and New Mexico Air National Guard Airmen on the situations in the impacted areas, defined their roles for the event and ensured they were properly equipped and able to perform their task. Equipment deployed into the area was also checked for serviceability and functionality, and ensured it is what was requested.

“In order to execute the mission under the constraints which currently exist on the island, our Airmen had to be innovative in their approach to meeting the objectives of a JRSOI,” said Santiago. “Capt. Jose Martinez who is the wing's installation deployment officer and acting JRSOI officer in charge, along with Capt. Emire Rodriguez, who is the military director of personnel, led the team of Airmen at Muniz in identifying and establishing a personnel and cargo/equipment processing area for our arriving service members.”

The establishment and successful management of the JRSOI is crucial to the Dual Status Commander's ability to provide forces to the affected municipalities and ultimately meet the Governor's intent in assisting the citizens of Puerto Rico.  

“The JRSOI is all about anticipating and overcoming challenges to synchronize the process in order to ensure a successful mission and my team went above and beyond the expectations,” said Capt. Emire Rodriguez, the 156th Force Support Squadron director of personnel.

The JRSOI was accomplished with the hard work and efforts from Airmen in the 156th Force Support Squadron, 156th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 156th Civil Engineer Squadron, 156th Communications Flight and the Puerto Rico State Air Guard. Briefings provided by the PRANG’s legal office, medical group and intel office established a healthy and safe start for the Airmen entering the municipalities.

Lt. Col. Santiago boasted about the accomplishments of every Airman involved in the JRSOI for being super-star performers who ensured this operation was possible and successful.

The Puerto Rico National Guard is working around the clock to support Joint Task Force Puerto Rico to provide a safe place for the displaced citizens affected by the Jan. 7, 2020 earthquake, currently relocated to base camps in Guánica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce and Yauco. The purposes of the base camps are to save lives, sustain lives and protect property until municipalities can restore their ability to provide for their displaced residents.