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Pennsylvania Guard Deploys Broadcast Aircraft to Haiti

HARRISBURG, PA.: The Pennsylvania National Guard deployed a TV and radio station to Haiti in the form of a specially equipped aircraft. All the TV and radio stations in the earthquake-racked nation are reported to be down. About 50 members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing as well as two additional C-130 aircraft departed Middletown, Pa., for Haiti last Thursday and Friday.

The aircraft, known as “Commando Solo” is a modified four-engine Hercules transport plane outfitted with AM, FM, HF, TV and military transmitters. (Shown at left in a USAF photo flying over the Pennsylvania countryside in a training mission.) It’s been used for psyops and civil affairs broadcasting in various theaters, including Desert Storm. The 193rd conducted an operation known as “Voice of the Gulf” during the 1990-91 conflict, “intended to convince the Iraqi soldiers to surrender,” according to the U.S. Air Force. The 193rd deployed to Haiti in 1994 for Operation Uphold Democracy during the transition from military rule.

(Right, airmen assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard load a C-130J as they prepare to depart Middletown, Pa., for Haiti, Jan. 15, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David Hawkins.)