McEntire JNGB staged for Florence relief efforts
By Capt. Stephen Hudson, 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2018
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
In the aftermath and devastating flooding in South Carolina due to Tropical Storm Florence, this sprawling base in Lower Richland County is again the hub of activity for the National Guard’s domestic operations response.
With Army National Guard rotary assets like CH-47 Chinooks from New York and Pennsylvania coming to the base, Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III arriving with personnel and equipment, the base is serving as home base for search and rescue efforts, as well as, staged to receive and distribute relief supplies in impacted counties in South Carolina.
“We have repurposed the installation to support the citizens of South Carolina as the primary response airfield,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Akshai Gandhi, 169th Fighter Wing commander. “What this means is rescue assets are staged and pushed forward as needed.”
Gandhi added the base will support any aircraft that comes in.
The response to Tropical Storm Florence is not the first time McEntire JNGB has been used after a natural disaster. In the historic floods of October 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, McEntire was the center of the response efforts. After Hurricane Irma in 2017, McEntire was the staging location to move Army Aviation and engineering equipment and soldiers to Puerto Rico.
Approximately 3,200 South Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and 100 State Guard are currently mobilized to prepare, respond and participate in recovery efforts as Tropical Storm Florence caused flooding and damage to the state.
McEntire is well suited to serve as a logistics hub and center of the response with its 2,300 acres, expansive runway and access to major highways and airspace.
Throughout the year any number of local law enforcement agencies and military units use the base due to its size and capacity to host a variety of training events.