HELENA – 26 members of the Montana Air National Guard’s 219th Red Horse Squadron heads to Puerto Rico to aid with hurricane relief.

The unit deployed on Wednesday morning, the deployment is expected to last about 30 days.

Red Horse stands for rapid, engineering, deployable, heavy-operation, squadron engineers. They are heavy construction specialists.

“So when the nation calls or the state calls, we have to be ready to go. That’s what we plan for, and that’s what we train for,” said 219th RHS Commander Colonel Rusty Vaira.

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The units Disaster Relief Bed-Down Set (DRBS) will operate at a tent city near the capital of San Juan. Its members have trained extensively with the system.

They will provide shelter and services, as well as power generation and water purification for about 300 emergency aid workers.

219th RHS leadership thanked the airmen who accepted the short-notice mission, and their families and employers for allowing them to respond and provide assistance during a critical time of need.

This is not the first time the 219 RHS has deployed in response to a natural disaster.

In 2013, airmen went to Colorado to help build roads after the state experienced major flooding.

The Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing has also previously reported it had provided a C-130, six crew members and a crew chief to perform medical evacuations in hurricane affected regions of Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia.

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