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US Transportation Command earlier this month declared that the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Contingency Response Group is fully mission-capable to provide domestic disaster-response assistance to civilian authorities, according to a release. TRANSCOM rendered the decision after the group on Aug. 8 completed a four-day earthquake-response exercise in Mascoutah, Ill., with the Army's 689th Rapid Port Opening Element from JB Langley-Eustis, Va., states the Aug. 14 release. "The inspectors told us we knocked it out of the park and awarded us an overall grade of 'outstanding,'" said Col. Mark Heiniger, 123rd CRG commander. The group' mission is to ensure the rapid delivery of food, water, medicine, and other assistance by airlift, even when local airports are closed. The Kentucky group is the first fully operational CRG in the Air National Guard, according to the release. In 2012, TRANSCOM affirmed the group's ability to perform the joint port-opening mission overseas. (Mascoutah report by Maj. Dale Greer)