85th EIS deploys to Puerto Rico

Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operator, secures a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operator, secures a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Skyler Hart, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron quality assurance, loads equipment into a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Skyler Hart, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron quality assurance, loads equipment into a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Mathew Oden, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operations NCO in charge, directs a forklift at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Mathew Oden, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operations NCO in charge, directs a forklift at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operator, secures a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron vehicle operator, secures a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Senior Airman Christian Bonenberger, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron material control manager and Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th EIS vehicle operator, secure a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

Senior Airman Christian Bonenberger, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron material control manager and Staff Sgt. Victor Mancaruso, 85th EIS vehicle operator, secure a cargo container for a deployment to aid Puerto Rico at the 85th EIS Vehicle Operations building on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Members from the 85th Engineering Installation Squadron deployed Oct. 13, from Savannah, Georgia, to aid Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria relief.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s land mobile radio communications infrastructure for first responders are in dire need of repair and the 85th EIS were requested by name to help get it back up and running.

“The US Army North had some direct influence in our tasking to Puerto Rico,” said Maj. Jason Read, 85th EIS director of operations. “One of the comments a Federal Emergency Management Agency representative made was that they can’t make the proper assessments; that’s what they need us there for. At that point we knew we had to be prepared for everything.”

The 85th EIS is the only active duty engineering and installation unit in the Air Force and their expertise and reputation is the reason why they were selected for this mission. They handpicked every team member based on their skillsets ranging from radio frequency, airfield communications, cable antenna, translators and to someone who had local knowledge of Puerto Rico.

Capt. Jose Gutierrez del Arroyo, 85th EIS specialized engineering flight deputy commander, jumped at the opportunity to help as the destruction of Puerto Rico quite literally hit home as he has lived there for 10 years and still has family living on the island.

“My family stateside was collecting donations for Puerto Rico, but sending supplies was difficult,” said Gutierrez. “When Maj Read told us about this opportunity, I considered it a blessing to go there and actually be able to help both my family and the 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico who still need help.”

85th EIS will be deployed for an undetermined amount of time and are prepared to stay until their mission is complete.