Richmond, Va. – Virginia Army National Guard aviators delivered food, mail and medical supplies to residents of Tangier Island on Thursday.
The action was ordered by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in conjunction to the emergency declaration made on February 16th.
Tangier Island has been otherwise unable to receive deliveries that are typically delivered by boat due to icy conditions.
“Accomack County contacted us to see if there was any way critical supplies could be delivered to Tangier Island since icy conditions were preventing boats from making their usual deliveries,” said State Coordinator Jeff Stern. “We coordinated with Maryland public safety officials and the Coast Guard, and tasked National Guard aviators to carry out the mission at the direction of the governor. This was executed within hours after we received the request thanks to this week’s emergency declaration.”
The aviators responsible for the successful mission are from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and flew the mission on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
The crew flew first to the Accomack County airport to pick up emergency management personnel to assist in moving the needed cargo, then flew to Chrisfield, Maryland to pick up the supplies before heading to Tangier Island where the aircraft and cargo were met by residents of the island.
“Our entire job and our role is really focused on the community and on helping them out,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joshua Jacobsen, who helped pilot the mission and who moved to Virginia from Minnesota two years ago. “It felt good for me personally to give back to the state that I feel has really embraced and welcomed me as a Virginian.
Tangier Island has been iced in since late last week when freezing temperatures swept the commonwealth, making regular deliveries of mail and supplies impossible.
“We all forget sometimes how great it is to have our military, and they keep us free, but in these situations it’s not just to protect our outer boundaries, but to help the citizens as well,” said Charles Pruitt, director of public safety for Accomack County. “It’s great to have the National Guard available to do this for us.”