WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 — As of 9:30 a.m. today, 337 National Guard members were activated in support of relief operations for the winter storm that has blanketed most of the Southeast.
The governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have declared states of emergency and activated members of their National Guard.
The Alabama National Guard has activated 136 Army National Guard soldiers for state active duty who are supporting about 20 missions throughout the state. They are providing engineering support in the form of Humvees, road graders and liaison officers for the state’s emergency operations center.
The Arkansas National Guard has 24 Army National Guard soldiers on state active duty conducting safety checks along Interstate 30, and the Malvern and Benton armories are open to the public for shelter opportunities to accommodate stranded motorists.
The Georgia National Guard is helping transport snowbound medical workers to Grady Memorial Hospital along Atlanta’s icy roads.
“Since about 2 p.m. Monday, we have been transporting workers from their homes to Grady Memorial,” said Army Spc. Joshua Blevins, a mechanic with the 178th Military Police Company of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “We just want them to get here safe where they can save lives.”
The North Carolina National Guard has opened two armories for warming centers and is working with civil authorities to assist stranded motorists.
Twelve soldiers reported Jan. 9 to armories in Moore, Anson and Richmond counties to support local authorities with transportation, recovery, or other missions as required by North Carolina emergency response officials.
There will be two to three HUMVEEs and four to six Guard members in each location to assist in operations. Additional soldiers will be on duty to maintain armories for the HUMVEE teams, officials said.
The Humvee teams are from the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team and 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. The Guard members will stay on duty depending on the need, but soldiers are preparing to stay on duty for several days.
According to the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald Online newspaper, about three dozen South Carolina Army National Guard soldiers from the 178th Combat Engineer Battalion were activated to assist the highway patrol in helping motorists throughout area counties, said Army Maj. Coral Dobson, executive officer of the battalion.
The soldiers are part of the other 165 soldiers statewide who have been tasked with their equipment to help with wrecks and clearing roads.
The 178th CEB, which specializes in road construction and other engineering tasks, has several large wreckers normally used for moving its engineering and earthmoving equipment that will be used to augment civilian authorities’ equipment during the storm, Dobson said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)