Air National Guard Rescues 19 People, Two Dogs After Devastating Kentucky Floods

by Blake Ells

There are many heroes working hard to help victims of the devastating Kentucky floods. From the ordinary neighbors helping their neighbors, to hometown legends like Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers.

There’s also the extraordinary heroes from the Kentucky Air National Guard. The crew rescued 19 victims and two dogs through their efforts in recent days. Members of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron went to the region last Thursday and spent four days on rescue efforts.

“We found out about the situation Thursday morning at approximately 8:10 a.m.,” squadron commander Maj. Ian Williams said in a statement. “Before we had our tasking to respond, we started having our initial team show up to the squadron to prepare gear in the event that we would have to push out and support.”

More than 30 people lost their lives in the Kentucky floods, and many more remain missing. There were 17 members of the Special Tactics Squadron that responded by boat and land. Six more aided via helicopter.

“Our success at the 123rd STS wouldn’t be possible without our mission support folks,” Williams added. “They’re the first to arrive at the unit when something happens, because they know that the vehicles, boats, communications equipment and resupply coordination are make-or-break elements of this sort of mission.”

The Kentucky Air National Guard had assistance from the Kentucky State Police, as well as Army National Guard troops from Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

While 37 lives have been lost so far, rescue efforts have saved 1,300 people.

Kentucky Floods Cause Catastrophic Damage

Videos of rescue efforts have made the internet, and the bravery displayed by neighbors and service men and women is remarkable. One of the folks that proved heroic was a former coal miner named Nathan Day. He had no raft, but he waded through rough waters to save a neighbor’s grandchildren.

“At 3 o’clock that morning I was in that water with my wife,” he said in an interview. “I put a child around each arm and one around my neck and took them back to my house. The oldest child was holding a small dog.”

When country music legends Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers showed up to help their Kentucky neighbors, they didn’t expect a red carpet. No one would ever known they were there had each not taken time to pose for photos with fans. Stapleton was caught at the local Wal-Mart buying supplies and loading them up for delivery himself.

Other Kentucky natives have posted moving tributes. Billy Ray Cyrus grew up in the state and shared his concern for home. Many more heroes will certainly have stories to share themselves in the coming days as rescue efforts continue after the Kentucky floods.