334th Air Expeditionary Group on standby in Charleston for Florence assistance

Local News

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Airmen with the 23rd Wing of Moody Air Force Base arrived at Joint Base Charleston on Saturday ready to assist in areas that were hit hardest by Florence.  

“We’re here on alert posture just in case any of the states request our services. We specialize in search and rescue and that’s what we’re here to do. I’ve been doing this for a long time. Over 19 years. Every time we come out to do something like this, it’s absolutely amazing. To be able to help somebody on their worst day is exactly why we’re here,” said Kevin Stewart, Chief Master Sergeant. 

This group includes active duty and reserve Airmen from across Florida. The ones on standby here in Charleston are operating out of a mobile command center at the base.

“We’re just getting our power available and running our maps and charts based on pressure altitude and temperature and aircraft weight, so that we know how many personnel we can recover or move around in the helicopter,” said Daniel Paige, Special Missions Aviator.  

For Paige, this mission is particularly special.  

“I was stationed here at Joint Base Charleston as a C-17 Loadmaster, so it’s pretty humbling to come back to my first flying station and be a part of an effort to help not directly the community here, but anybody who might need it,” Paige said. 

There are pararescuemen, survival specialists, boat teams, aircrew, and support personnel, all itching to get the call to help.

“With situations like this, all I want to do is help. It’s always ‘put me in coach,'” Stewart said. 

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