North Carolina Coast Guard Station Assists with California Wildfire Relief

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A Coast Guard C-130 crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., assisted FEMA in transporting vehicles and personnel to respond to the California wildfires, Wednesday morning.

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Jackson, Lt. George Cathey, and Petty Officers Ryan Anderson, Brian Batdorf, Ryan Cantu, Jason Miller and Glenn Mulchrone departed Elizabeth City for Dobbins Air Force Base in Atlanta.

Upon arriving, the aircrew loaded a FEMA Federal Incident Response Support (FIRST) team and their two operations vehicles onboard the C-130 and flew them to San Diego to assist in providing humanitarian relief to victims of the California Wildfires.

“This is not the first time we’ve flown the FEMA FIRST team,” said Lt. Christopher Tantillo, Coast Guard liaison to FEMA.

FIRSTs serve as the primary field contact with counterparts in the various Federal, State, local and voluntary agencies and organizations in coordinating Federal assistance following an emergency or major disaster.

“We train and prepare for this mission every day,” said Lt. Jody Popp, a C-130 pilot at Air Station Elizabeth City.

“The Coast Guard is first and foremost a humanitarian service and saving lives is our first priority. Rescuing people from the sea, plucking people off of rooftops or delivering equipment and personnel to areas that need help, are all missions that we gladly perform,” said Popp.

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