Iowa soldiers heading to Texas to help with Harvey relief

DAVENPORT -- Soldiers with the Iowa National Guard are headed to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Eleven soldiers packed up two CH-47F Chinook helicopters at the Davenport Army Aviation Support Facility on Friday, September 1.

After a roughly five-hour flight, they'll arrive in the Houston, Texas, area to assist communities dealing with record-breaking flooding. They'll likely help move people and supplies in hard-to-reach areas.

"If we need to do rescues, that's what we're going to do. If we're needed to do supplies, that's what we're going to do. Whatever we're needed for," said Sgt. Zachary Moog.

Eight of the soldiers are from Davenport units, and the others are based in Boone and Johnston. Although many of them have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they say it's different to be needed on a mission here at home.

"First and foremost, these are our citizens. If it was happening in Iowa, I would certainly hope we would get that kind of support. It feels really good to be part of a mission like this. It really is an honor to serve," said Capt. Forest Lightle.

The Chinook helicopters can carry large amounts of cargo and hold up to 33 people. They were loaded with water, ladders, and even a John Deere Gator -- anything that might be needed in Texas.

"It looks really rough down there. It looks like a lot of people are having a lot of trouble," said Moog. "It feels great to be able to help."

Soldiers were told to prepare for a 7-10 day deployment, but the length of their stay will depend on how long their help is needed.

Texas requested the aid under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact — an agreement between all 50 states, two territories and Washington, D.C., to assist one another in times of crisis.