South Carolina National Guard sends 150 soldiers to help Puerto - FOX Carolina 21

South Carolina National Guard sends 150 soldiers to help Puerto Rico's devastation

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SC National Guard deployed to help Puerto Rico (Sep. 30, 2017/FOX Carolina) SC National Guard deployed to help Puerto Rico (Sep. 30, 2017/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The South Carolina National Guard said there's no time to waste when it comes to helping Puerto Rico. Many South Carolina soldiers were part of the recovery effort when Hurricane Katrina struck - and they said Maria is no different.

About 150 soldiers are gearing up to lend a hand, gathering their equipment at the McEntire Joint National guard base near Columbia on Friday. 

"As somebody who is activated for both of those I've seen it, I've helped it and I'm looking forward to helping these guys get through it because we know what it's like being from the midlands and from the coast we've lived it," Lt. Thomas Kaiser said. 

Millions are without power, some with no way out, it's why the San Juan mayor is calling the aftermath of maria a "life or death story."

"This is a story of devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food or water," Carmen Yulin Cruz said. 

These South Carolina National Guard men and women are on their way out the door, some as soon as Sunday to get Puerto Rico the help it needs.

"Remember we're not there to fully repair the road, we're never going to build a six lane highway rebuild it if it's completely washed. Our goal is to get emergency equipment and emergency movement of people in and out of a certain area," Lt. Thomas Kaiser said. 

Soldiers said they are spreading their resources as much as possible, while making an impact on those living in the rubble.  More than 40 chainsaws, 4 bobcats, 10 Humvee will all be shipped to out by Sunday. It's a swift response the national guard said it hasn't enforced since Hurricane Katrina.

"Opening up emergency routes so we can get to everyone in Puerto Rico and either get supplies to them or get them out of areas that need to get out. So it's really opening up those main supply routes and those emergency routes," Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston., Jr. said. 

It's the first step to a long recovery for Puerto Rico, but these soldiers hope it will be faster with their aid on the front lines.

"These guys and gals, they know what they're doing and we're very proud of them and I'm proud of them for volunteering to go down to help our neighbors," Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston., Jr. said. 

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