YARS Ready to Assist in Houston if Needed

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Though the official call hasn’t come yet, the 910th Airlift Wing is preapred to travel to Houston to aid in recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey, said wing commander Col. Danial Sarachene.

“We stand ready to support them if it comes to the need of additional forces to combat biting insects like we did after Katrina and Rita,” he said Thursday at the annual meeting of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission. “People need to go out and clean up. The nuisance of mosquitos and airborne diseases that can spread leads right into what we do here at Youngstown Air Reserve Station

In the wake of natural disasters like hurricanes, the 910th sprays flooded areas with insecticide to prevent the spread of pests and any diseases they may carry. The airlift wing is the U.S. military’s only fixed-wing aerial spray operation.

While there have been backchannel communications between authorities in southeastern Texas and YARS, no official plans have been made for the 910th, though other Navy and Air Force Reserve units have been called upon for rescue missions. The call for service, Sarachene added, will come from local authorities.

“Once they say, ‘We don’t have enough assets to handle the emergency,’ they contact the Department of Defense and we come out,” he said. “It falls on us when the civilian authorities aren’t able.”

Being sent to assist in such missions will further boost the profile of the air reserve station, the base commander said, as it gives military officials a chance to see what the airmen of the 910th do.

“With all those flood waters and mosquito-borne diseases, that’s exactly the thing they do and they do it well,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I frankly hope Texas calls on them because they’re needed.”

Pictured: Col. Daniel Sarachene, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing

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