FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania National Guard sent 18 Soldiers and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters Oct. 23 to Puerto Rico to assist with ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The anticipated mission for the Guard members is to facilitate timely employment of aviation resources.

Upon arrival the aviation personnel will integrate with thousands of National Guard members, active duty military, and first responders onsite.

Additional Pennsylvania National Guard members are on-duty at the Pennsylvania National Guard's joint emergency operations center. The center maintains continuous communications with National Guard Bureau and PEMA in order to anticipate future requirements that could be assigned to Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen.

There are currently more than 20 Pennsylvania National Guard members in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands supporting relief operations. A 20-member aviation crew and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters recently returned from Puerto Rico.

Last month the Pennsylvania National Guard sent a variety of both troops and equipment to support Texas after Hurricane Harvey, Florida after Hurricane Irma and the U.S. Virgin Islands during Hurricane Maria.