St. Louis Public Radio News
6:25 pm
Mon May 24, 2010

Mo. National Guard to assist in Louisiana oil clean-up

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard will lend a hand in the response to the oil rupture off the coast of Louisiana.

Governor Jay Nixon has ordered the Guard to send at least one Black Hawk helicopter and 10 to 15 aircraft maintenance personnel to Louisiana to assist those trying to stem the flow of oil from a well that ruptured in an explosion just over a month ago. That explosion killed 11 oil workers, and thousands of gallons of oil have been released into the Gulf of Mexico since.

Second Lt. John Quin is with the Missouri National Guard.

"What they're going to be doing down there is transporting teams in and out, and loading equipment in and out as needed," Quin said.

The Black Hawk crew and maintenance soldiers are scheduled to leave Wednesday and will stay as long as needed. Additional helicopters and soldiers could also be sent if needed.

"This is what we train for all the time...we've done a lot of these types of missions, not specifically the oil spill, but major emergency missions during the past 10 years, and we're ready to go and glad to pitch in any way we can," Quin said.

In recent years, the Missouri National Guard has been deployed to Louisiana to assist in the aftermaths of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav.