SALT LAKE CITY —
At the request of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the Utah Air
National Guard assisted with airlifting a critical piece of
equipment Aug. 9 to support rescue operations for six Utah
miners trapped deep inside the earth since the Crandall
Canyon Coal Mine collapsed three days earlier.
Within hours of receiving the request for help, the airlift
operation was coordinated between Air National Guard units
in Mississippi, Kansas and Utah for the vital piece of
underground video equipment to use in the rescue effort.
"This mission is typical of what the
National Guard is all about," said Col. William Crisler,
commander of the 172nd Airlift Wing, based in Jackson, Miss.
"We're always ready to respond in a moment's notice to help
our citizens in a time of need."
Airmen from the Utah Air Guard's 151st Air
Refueling Wing assisted in the arrival of the C-17
Globemaster III from the 172nd Airlift Wing of the
Mississippi Air National Guard. The aircraft transported the
equipment supplied by Substrata Camera Services of
Knoxville, Tenn., from its location in Topeka, Kan.
"This equipment will allow me to position a
camera in the mine and assess the situation from a whole,
360-degree angle," said A.L. Clark by telephone, a
technician with Substrata. "Rescue crews will have a better
idea of what they are dealing with once we are on site and
by Shad West
Lt. Col. David Buck, 172nd Airlift
Wing, Mississippi Air National Guard, explains the
details of the mission to Utah reporters Aug. 9.
Once on the ground in Utah, Substrata
employee George Rollins drove the specialized vehicle from
Salt Lake City on the two-and-a-half-hour trip to the mine
location near Huntington with a Utah Highway Patrol escort.
Interestingly, it didn't take much longer
than that to coordinate the entire mission to get the camera
equipment from Kansas to Utah.
"This has been a multistate effort, and it
is amazing at how fast it has gotten done," said Maj. Gen.
Brian L. Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National
Guard. "It is important for people to realize that there are
Guardsmen from many states who have these families in their
thoughts and prayers and are working hard to help them in
any way they can."
"It was a privilege to assist on this
mission that may save the miners' lives," added Loadmaster
Senior Master Sgt. Allen Randall of the 172nd Airlift Wing.
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