Monday, December 27, 2010

National Guard Responds to East Coast Storm

About 100 soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's 116th Brigade Combat Team were called to state active duty Dec. 25, 2010, in Norfolk, Va., in response to a severe snowstorm that dropped a record amount of snow on the Hampton Roads area. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne

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

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2010 - As of 8 a.m. today, 430 National Guard members had been activated in response to an East Coast winter storm that left as much as 2 feet of snow in some areas and prompted six governors to activate their National Guard.

Guard members from Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia are providing equipment and manpower support to civilian authorities conducting emergency operations throughout their respective states.

"The key to rapid response for this event is having personnel in place and ready to respond," Army Col. Gerald Catrett, joint operations officer for the Virginia Guard, said. "We are staging personnel, vehicles and equipment ... to support missions such as transportation through heavy snow."

Massachusetts Guard members are assisting local police to evacuate some homes affected by coastal flooding caused by the storms.

Maryland Guard members are calling on the lessons they learned during the "snowpocalypse" earlier in 2010.

"During the blizzards of earlier 2010, we helped deliver babies and rescue motorists on the highway," Army Maj. Gen. James Adkins, the adjutant general of Maryland, said. "Who knows what the next call may be."

Virginia Guard members are assisting Virginia State Police and local emergency response organizations in the Eastern Shore by conducting Humvee-mounted route patrols to assess road conditions and assist stranded motorists.

At about 4:45 a.m. today, they transported one adult and two children stranded on a side street and also were scheduled to transport emergency services personnel to work at a local hospital.

At about 6:30 a.m. they also rescued three people trapped in their car for more than four hours and transported them to a local shelter for further assistance.