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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011

New capabilities enhance National Guard response to hurricane

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About 7,675 National Guard troops from 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico responded over the weekend to civil authorities tackling Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.

According the National Guard Coordination Center reports:

Guard members cleared debris and performed high-water search and rescue missions in Connecticut. They helped transportation officials control traffic in the District of Columbia. They handed out cots and supplies in Delaware. They flew helicopters from Alaska, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico and Ohio to standby in the affected region for search and rescue, damage assessment, transportation or other missions.

Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen provided command and control support in Maine; filled sandbags and assessed damage in Massachusetts; performed search and rescue and provided security and transportation in North Carolina; and provided shelter in New Jersey.

The National Guard provided maritime transportation to the islands of Vieques and Culebra in Puerto Rico; they supported communications in Rhode Island; they provided engineers to local authorities in Virginia.

Throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Guard members helped neighbors hit by Irene — such as the 129 New York Guard members sent in speed boats to help rescue 21 people stranded by floodwaters in an upstate New York hotel Sunday afternoon.

About 101,000 Guard members were available in the affected region, the Department of Defense reported, and the NGCC worked with the states and other federal agencies to ensure the right numbers reached the right places at the right time.

Among assets coordinated and monitored by the NGCC were force packages that allow Guard officials to strategically position assets to respond to any additional needs states may have. Read the complete story online at www.army.mil.

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