Assessing the Damage

The Air National Guard has used the RC-26 surveillance aircraft to support relief efforts in states including Indiana and Wisconsin in the wake of severe flooding in the Midwest. The fixed-wing aircraft, used primarily for counterdrug work, has provided real-time video and high-quality still photos to help local and state officials assess flood damage. Use of the aircraft has been a joint effort, bringing in ANG personnel from several states. For example, an RC-26 from the Mississippi ANG’s 186th Air Refueling Wing in Meridian arrived in Wisconsin on June 11 to fly relief-assistance missions in cooperation with members of the Wisconsin Air Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison and the Arkansas ANG’s 314th Airlift Wing in Little Rock, Ark. The Wisconsin unit’s own RC-26 is deployed to Southwest Asia supporting the war or terror. Overall the Air Guard has 11 RC-26s. They were employed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and during last year’s California and Florida wildfires. The flood relief marks the first time that the aircraft have the ability to stream live video. (Kentucky National Guard report by Army Spc. Cassandra Groce and Wisconsin ANG report by TSgt. Don Nelson)