Tuesday, August 28, 2012

National Guard units in Southeast on alert for Isaac's impact

By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy, National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. - Army and Air National Guard elements throughout the southeastern United States are preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is making its way past the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that as the storm moves through the Gulf it will grow to hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall on the northern Gulf coast sometime Tuesday.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency and has activated 30 National Guard personnel. About 5,800 personnel are available in Florida if needed.

A state of emergency has also been declared by the governors of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama in advance of the storm. There are approximately 10 Alabama National Guard personnel that have been activated with another 70 Soldiers and Airmen set to be called up for a state mission today.

In Mississippi, Army Maj. Gen. Augustus L. Collins, the adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard, has called approximately 1,500 Guard personnel to state active duty in support of emergency operations in anticipation of Isaac’s landfall on or near the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Soldiers and Airmen will begin arriving today in the coastal counties preparing to support security operations, search and rescue, debris removal and water and ice distribution.

The Louisiana National Guard has called up on state active duty orders approximately 4100 Soldiers and Airmen in preparation of the storm making landfall.

In Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee officials have identified National Guard units that may be needed. Those Soldiers and Airmen are on a heightened state of awareness.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Army National Guard had approximately 50 Soldiers from the 190th Engineer Battalion on duty in response to the storm. Generator repair technicians from the unit repaired four generators at a nearby fire station.

And at the National Guard Bureau elements have been on duty monitoring the storm.

"The National Guard Bureau's Crisis Management Element has been alerted to work 24/7 to assist affected states in positioning people and equipment to facilitate the most effective response to the storm," National Guard Bureau officials said.