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Nevada National Guard to assist in Puerto Rico hurricane relief

CARSON CITY — Six Nevada Army National Guard members are headed to do hurricane relief work.

The soldiers, part of Reno and Carson City units, will employ communications gear on the battered island, which continues to be without power. The mission will be up to 30 days.

The communications equipment can provide wireless internet and connect the radio signals of different civilian agencies, such as fire and ambulance services, said Sgt. 1st Class Ron Seagraves of Carson City.

Some members of the group have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. For one member, it will be his first deployment on a mission.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Spc. William Isbister, who moved to Reno from Maine. “This is one of the reasons I enlisted. In the National Guard, you can do both. You can fight ISIS and help your community.”

The team is prepared for long shifts and sleeping in cots or tents.

“It’s all really going to be on the fly,” Isbister said.

The Joint Incident Site Communications Capability equipment provides satellite connections, allows voice communications and can connect with radios, laptop computers and video teleconferencing devices.

While much of the work will be technical, the soldiers could be asked to help in other ways, such as to do humanitarian work.

The exact day of the soldiers’ flight from Reno has not been finalized, but they expect to leave by Saturday.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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