Kansas National Guard Engineers headed to Puerto Rico

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Soldiers from the Kansas National Guard’s 242nd Engineer Company will head to Puerto Rico to assist authorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

About 60 soldiers, augmented by soldiers from other engineer units, will leave for Puerto Rico on Tuesday, November 7 on a humanitarian mission to assist local authorities with debris removal and damage assessments from the hurricane.

The soldiers will be relieving a National Guard unit from another state and are expected to be in Puerto Rico for 30 days.

“The damage and the suffering in Puerto Rico is extensive; it is going to take years to fully recover,” said Governor Sam Brownback.  “I am proud of our Kansas National Guard troops as they take part in the recovery efforts and put boots on the ground right where they are needed. God bless them and we look forward to their safe return.”

“This is just the type of assistance mission our Soldiers train for and they are ready and eager to help the citizens of Puerto Rico,” said Lt. Col. David Burk, commander, 891st Engineer Battalion. “I have every confidence they will carry out this mission with skill, professionalism, and pride.”

The mission was made at the request of Puerto Rico and was arranged by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a multistate, mutual aid agreement that facilitates interstate assistance in response and recovery operations during a disaster.

Kansas Guardsmen have deployed to other states under the EMAC agreement to battle forest fires, aid in recovery after hurricanes and for other disasters.

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