Florida Grateful For Help, But Sent Indiana Guard Home

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — After Hurricane Ian struck Florida's southwest coast, officials in the state realized they had enough National Guard units available and sent the crews that had come from Indiana home.

Florida had requested help through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. And the Indiana units were on their way when they were sent home Sept. 30, two days after the storm slammed into Florida's Gulf Coast.

The Indiana National Guard was among the units that headed toward Florida “out of an abundance of caution," William Manley, the deputy communications director for the Florida National Guard said Thursday.

The compact “is a way for National Guard units to augment their internal, inherent capabilities by requesting assistance from other National Guard units," Manley said.

“As soon as we conducted an initial assessment and discovered that the affected area wasn’t as large as initially forecasted, we released several military units back to their home states," Manley said in an email to The Associated Press. “We remain extremely grateful for their willingness to assist us in our time of need."

The Indiana National Guard said Wednesday that Florida will reimburse it about $130,000. Indiana sent more than a dozen soldiers, three flight crews and mechanics, along with two Black Hawk helicopters Sept 29, the day after Hurricane Ian slammed into the southwest Florida coast.

The were sent home Sept. 30, Indiana National Guard Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry said Wednesday.

“The total cost to fly the helicopters to Fort Rucker, Alabama, and back, including crew pay, meals, and lodging, was approximately $130,000. Florida will reimburse the Indiana National Guard,” Lowry said.

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For more coverage of Hurricane Ian, go to: https://apnews.com/hub/hurricanes