The Missouri National Guard is sending help in the oil cleanup effort off the coast of Louisiana.

The Guard is sending at least one Black Hawk helicopter and crew, along with 10 to 15 aircraft maintenance personnel. The Guard says they’ll stay to help with the cleanup as long as they’re needed. They deploy Wednesday.

Scott Holste with the Governor’s office says many states are helping with the catastrophe, just as guardsmen from other states have come here after floods, ice storms and other disasters.

Governor Nixon says the Guard “s a proud record of providing much-needed assistance during times of disaster and emergencies” and he expects their skills and training to be put to good use in helping with the response to the oil spill.

Missouri’s adjutant general, Brig. Gen. Stephen Danner, says, “These are the most seasoned Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen in the history of the Guard. After nearly nine years of deployments to support overseas contingency operations and more than a dozen state emergency missions in the same time frame, we’re ready to step up to any challenge.”

Danner says the guardsmen expect to provide external load capabilities, transport and daily insertion and extraction of response personnel to various sites and missions.

The guard says this mission will mark a return to the Gulf for them. oldiers and Airmen previously supported response efforts to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav in 2005 and 2008.

It’s a group effort, officials say, as Missouri and other state Guards are being activated under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The 1996agreement ensures that assets from other states can be brought to bear against a wide range of disasters including fires, floods and manmade disasters.

Most recently, the Missouri Guard assisted in the clean-up and transport of goods to Port au Prince, Haiti, where earthquake relief operations still continue.