Arkansas Air National Guard Helps Aid Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — The Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Wing Unclassified Processing Assessment and Dissemination has provided critical information and analysis to aid Hurricane Florence relief efforts in both North and South Carolina since September 13, according to the news release. 

The 188th Wing’s UPAD allows Airmen to rapidly analyze imagery from a variety of platforms, including satellites as well as manned or unmanned aircraft, and distribute tailored reports to meet mission requirements. 

The Airmen also have the ability to overlay post-incident imagery products and graphical overlays with pre-incident damage assessment products.

“Because UPAD analysts come from various Intelligence backgrounds, they have the skill sets to provide data, using analytical skills they already use during military operations,” said Capt. Joshua Westmoreland, UPAD officer in charge. “Our analysts are a mix of full-time and part-time Guardsmen, many of whom, like myself, have taken time from their civilian jobs and families to help fellow Americans in need.” 

The 188th Wing’s UPAD is one of five sites across the Air National Guard that have been activated in response to the storm and was the first to volunteer its capabilities. 

Since operations began on September 13, the analysts have produced over 360 products used by agencies on the ground to evaluate potential threats, including the closure of Interstate 40 in North Carolina, according to the Arkansas Air National Guard. 

“I-40 is a major corridor for that area,” said Master Sgt. Jeremy Gillingham, UPAD NCO in charge. “It’s important for people to know when they can safely go home.”

The UPAD previously activated in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in September 2017. 

188th Airmen supplied more than 2800 information products including damage and debris assessments, evacuation route assessments, lines of communication assessments, vantage point assessments for air traffic control teams and flood potential assessments. 

Those responses were in addition to the mission performed here every day accomplishing national military objectives around the globe.

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