MORRISVILLE, N.C. — The North Carolina Army National Guard is sending a helicopter task force to New Jersey to help with the relief effort following Hurricane Sandy.
Three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters with 16 pilots and crew departed Wednesday from North Carolina. They were joined by two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Georgia Army National Guard.
The task force will operate from Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurst, N.J., to assist in search and recovery and rescue operations, as well as ferrying people and supplies in the disaster area. The mission is scheduled to last through Sunday but could be extended if needed.
Guard commander Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk says North Carolina was largely spared by Sandy, but he knows the northeastern states ravaged by the storm would have sent help if roles were reversed.
Capt. Darrell Scoggins said he wants to "assist as many people as possible" while keeping his soldiers safe.
"My crews are well experienced. We've got a good mixture of experience and youth," he said. "Safety is in the number one key. We'll make sure we're assessing all the hazards."