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Illinois Troops Head to Gulf Coast

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Illinois National Guard troops are deploying to the Gulf Coast. Two helicopter crews left yesterday to join the effort ahead of Hurricane Gustav.

The crews left Decatur yesterday for Louisiana, and another deployed Saturday from Peoria. They’ll join thousands of National Guard troops from around the country. Illinois Guard spokesman Major Brad Leighton says the two Blackhawk crews have been especially busy lately. He says they’re fresh off fighting this summer’s Midwestern flooding…

LEIGHTON: They also did deployment in Iraq, they also responded to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and they’re act slated to go back to Iraq. They’re just willing to pick up and go. Modern-day Minutemen.

Leighton says the Chinook helicopter crew that left Saturday has already performed at least one evacuation mission. Today the helicopters are waiting out the storm in Jackson, Mississippi. Leighton says they’ll begin search-and-rescue and other missions as soon as the weather allows.

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