Members of Sioux City’s 185th Iowa Air National Guard unit are continuing to provide security in hurricane stricken Puerto Rico. The base commander of the 185th, Colonel Larry Christensen, says the guard members are stationed at San Juan’s airport.

“Because when the hurricane came through it took down all the fencing all around the entire airport. They were having a lot of trouble with people walking on the airport. You can imagine how dangerous that would be…if they just happen to walk across the runway,” Christensen says. “Also, they are having a little bit of trouble with looting, the generators, those type of things.”

Sixteen members of Des Moines 132nd Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard are also there. Colonel Christensen says the guard members don’t have far to go when they get to work.

He says they are living inside a hanger right now and spend most of their time protecting the San Jaun Airport. Christensen says it may be awhile before the Iowans return — as it still could months before power is completely restored to the island.

He says it could be up to 60 days, but if they are done, then they will send a plane to bring them home. The Air Guardsmen were flown down to Puerto Rico in a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 185th in late September.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)