TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Members of the New Jersey National Guard are being sent to Florida in advance of the expected arrival of Hurricane Irma.
More than 100 soldiers from the 253rd Transportation Company, based in Cape May, will be deployed in two stages and are expected to arrive as early as Friday at Camp Blanding in Central Florida.
“Many of them were deployed in Sandy and Katrina, many of them have been to Iraq and Afghanistan so we have a lot of good experience heading down there,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Chrystal, with the New Jersey National Guard
As these soldiers get ready to go, others are returning late Thursday afternoon from Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas. That deployment was a dozen guardsmen sent for helicopter rescue support.
The request from Florida in anticipation of Irma is transportation assistance–to help first responders get where they need to go and deliver food and water after the storm.
“They’re anticipating a need; in this case, it’s a truck company. So we’re sending 130 to 150 people tomorrow morning to be on the ground ready to go in case they’re needed,” said Chrystal.
Along with their fleet of 40 high-water vehicles, they’re bringing enough of their own food, water, shelter, and fuel for at least 2 weeks.
“We don’t know if buildings we’re slated to be at will still be standing so we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst and preparing to be self-sufficient,” said Samuel Waltzer, with the New Jersey National Guard.
Governor Chris Christie, in a press release said, “Beyond the numbers, these are highly experienced and trained men and women who served on the front lines during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.”