More Kentucky Guard Troops Leave For Gulf

By Justin Wilfon

(LOUISVILLE) -- The Kentucky National Guard is sending more help to the Gulf coast. Fifty troops left Louisville Tuesday for the first leg of a trip to New Orleans. Their mission: make sure the soldiers already there stay healthy. As WAVE 3's Justin Wilfon reports, it's a mission they're glad to accept.

The 1163rd Medical Company is accustomed to working in faraway lands. "This unit spent a year in Afghanistan," said Captain Dan Manning.

But now they are needed on the homefront.

"I think there's dangers still in place, different in nature, but the threat here's going to be more disease in nature," Manning said.

Kentucky's 1163rd Medical Company spent Tuesday morning packing up for a trip to the Gulf.

"We'll be providing medical support for the troops that are down there," Manning said.

The unit of 50 consists of EMTs, nurses, and dentists.

Their convoy includes two ambulances -- hopefully just enough to complete their mission, and Manning knows they have their work cut out for them.

"It's a big job," he said. "There are approximately 30,000 troops down there in the area."

The 1163rd will first head to the Wendall H. Ford regional training center in Western Kentucky, where it will meet up with 450 other National Guard troops from around the state. From there, the troops were scheduled to leave for New Orleans on Thursday.

Said Specialist Kimberly Woody: "As long as we're helping in some way, then that's good, especially closer to home.

"It's gratifying to us to be able to do something on this end of the border for once," Manning said.

The troops plan on being in New Orleans for about 30 days.

They'll be joining the nearly 400 Kentucky soldiers and airmen already there.

Online Reporter: Justin Wilfon

Online Producer: Michael Dever