The Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria is sending two aircraft and security personnel to support hurricane relief efforts.
In a release on Friday, the Army said 15 soldiers left Tuesday to evaluate conditions on the island and determine where the military can stage its long-term relief efforts.
The statement noted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, announced the state would send 1,100 Guardsman and first responders to Puerto Rico; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has ordered 600 Guardsman to the island. "Peggy and I ask that all South Carolinians join us in praying for our men and women in uniform and for the people of Puerto Rico".
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Maria", said Brig.
The South Carolina soldiers who'll be going are assigned to the 122nd Engineer Battalion headquartered in Edgefield and the 178th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Rock Hill.
They are expected to be in Puerto Rico for 30 days, but could be there longer if needed. "Now it's our turn to provide aid to fellow citizens in Puerto Rico".
Baker said Friday that MA is home to one of the largest communities of Puerto Rican Americans in the country.
Task Force Rhino will help with clearing debris from roads and making hasty road repairs to allow aid to reach areas cut off from the storm as well restoring infrastructure.