KY National Guard members deploy for Irma relief

KY Air National Guard heads to USVI

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Members of Kentucky's Army and Air National Guard are headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to aid in search in rescue missions.

In addition to helping with recovery efforts during Katrina back in 2005, many of these same guardsmen recently returned from Texas where they helped with logistical support in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

In all of their travels, they tell WHAS11 they've learned to expect the unexpected since no two hurricanes are the same.

"At 3:30 this morning I got a phone call that our C-17 would be here,” said CW5 Steve Knight.  “We were all up bright and early moving out of here quickly."

After 38 years as a pilot, CW5 Steve Knight says his job in the Kentucky National Guard never gets old.

"I love to fly,” said Knight.  “That's always good for me."

During his time in the guard, Knight has deployed to more Hurricane's than he can name, but the memories are still burned in his mind.

"Going down through there and you see entire interstates with the pavement knocked off the pillars, and they're lying in the ocean,” said Knight. “It's quite a site to see."

However, even this experienced pilot isn't sure what to Hurricane Irma is bringing with it.

"This one obviously being the strongest that the North Atlantic, or the Atlantic Ocean, has ever seen we're not sure what to expect on the damage they've sustained,” said Knight.

While he and his crew are hoping for the best, this mission calls for them to prepare for the worst.

"Loss of life is always the worst thing,” said Knight. “If people are stranded we'll hoist them up, bring them out, and give them safety. We'll provide whatever aid we can."

While Chief Warrant Officer Knight says his crew is prepared to fight through any adversity they may find during their deployment, but he'll be doing so alongside a familiar face.

Knight’s son will be working shoulder to shoulder with him as a member of the guard.

"You couldn't ask for a better job to have with your son,” said Knight.  “I highly recommend it."

The Kentucky Air and Army National Guard's orders will keep them in the Virgin Islands for at least the next two weeks.

After their mission is complete they will return home, and await their next orders.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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