Civilians in Puerto Rico can be seen waving from roadways, taking photos and bringing drinks to soldiers as members of Rock Hill’s National Guard work to help Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, officials say.
“The civilians have expressed sincere gratitude whenever our soldiers are working in the community,” said Capt. Tammy Muckenfuss, spokesperson for the S.C. National Guard. “People wave on from the sides of the roads as we pass by on our way to missions.”
The civilians have expressed sincere gratitude whenever our soldiers are working in the community.
Capt. Tammy Muckenfuss, S.C. National Guard
Puerto Rico, a United States territory with almost 3.5 million American citizens, was devastated by the storm.
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South Carolina earlier this month sent about 150 Army National Guard soldiers from the 178th Combat Engineer Battalion in Rock Hill and another unit from Edgefield, said Lt. Col. Cindi King, spokesperson for the National Guard.
Troops were told the mission could be 30-60 days, King said.
“Our goal is to clear roadways to provide better access for getting aid to the people and repair infrastructure,” said Army Capt. Joseph Varin, commander of Task Force Palmetto in Puerto Rico.
The S.C. soldiers have helped remove debris from more than 24 miles of roadway, clearing the way for utility repairs, civilian travel and supply deliveries, Muckenfuss said.
“We are working with the Puerto Rican National Guard and local community members to identify areas of concern, conduct road reconnaissance and plan missions,” she said.
As of right now, the S.C. National Guard is not planning to send any more troops into Puerto Rico, Muckenfuss said.
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082