Approximately 60 soldiers of the Kansas National Guard’s 242nd Engineer Company, augmented by soldiers from other engineer units, left on a humanitarian mission to Puerto Rico on Nov. 7 to assist local authorities with debris removal and damage assessments in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The soldiers are 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,” says Gov. 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,” says 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, made at the request of Puerto Rico, 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.