Monday, January 10, 2011

National Guard Prepares for Southeast Storm Support

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell, National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON - As a winter storm rolls through the southern United States, some governors have placed their National Guard on state active duty.

The Arkansas National Guard is providing 10 Humvees and 24 soldiers for state active duty to conduct safety and wellness checks along Interstate 30 between Little Rock and Malvern. They also are scheduled to open the Malvern and Benton armories for shelter opportunities to accommodate stranded motorists.

The Alabama National Guard has activated two soldiers as liaison officers for the State Emergency Operation Center, and will continue to monitor the situation, officials said. Meanwhile, the Georgia National Guard is preparing equipment and issuing plans to support communities if the governor orders their mobilization.

"Soldiers and airmen of the Georgia National Guard stand ready to do our part to help local communities recover, if we are needed," said Army Maj. Gen. William Nesbitt, Georgia's adjutant general.

Guardsmen already conducting their monthly drills yesterday prepared Humvees, loaded equipment, pre-positioned supplies and updated plans to mobilize should the governor call upon them, officials said.

The Georgia Guard's Joint Forces Headquarters also brought its Joint Operations Center staffing up to operating capacity yesterday to monitor the storm and manage any potential National Guard response.