States mobilizing guardsmen as Irene awaits - Army News
More than 900 New York National Guard soldiers and more than 100 vehicles will head to the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island on Saturday in response to Hurricane Irene.
If required, more than 12,000 soldiers and airmen and more than 680 vehicles could become involved in the already massive preparation effort.
New York’s National Guard troops have available to them 15 Black Hawk helicopters, four Chinook helicopters, a C-130 cargo plane and six rescue helicopters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing 230 soldiers with vehicles and satellite communications to Long Island by Saturday night.
Troops from as far away as Auburn will be sent to locations throughout the downstate area.
Other states’ plans for using Guard troops during the impending storm include:
• Alaska: The Alaska Air National Guard is preparing to send crews and equipment to West Virginia to provide search and rescue support in response to Hurricane Irene. Air Force C-17 flown by members of the Guard’s 249th Airlift Squadron is scheduled to leave Saturday with about 45 personnel from the 176th Wing for a two-week deployment, Maj. Guy Hayes said. Among the items being sent to Charleston are two Pave Hawk helicopters with four flight crews.
• Connecticut: The Connecticut National Guard sent advance notice to 200 guardsmen to report for storm duty Sunday morning, and expected that 500 more could be called out by Monday, spokesman Col. John Whitford said Friday. The Guard was also preparing chain saws and other equipment, and looking into positioning vehicles on the shoreline ahead of the storm.
• Delaware: 1,500 guardsmen will assist in the mandatory evacuation of coastal areas as Irene approaches, officials said.
• District of Columbia: Mayor Vincent Gray said Friday the National Guard was ready to be deployed, if necessary.
• Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard on Friday; 500 guardsmen were being deployed immediately, with another 2,000 to be activated on Saturday.
• North Carolina: The state was sending 180 guardsmen to the eastern part of the state by midday Friday to help prepare for the storm’s arrival, Gov. Beverly Perdue said early Friday.
• Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania National Guard is calling up 1,500 guardsmen in advance of the storm. Guard spokesman Maj. Ed Shank said the guard is stepping up its joint emergency operations center at its headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap. An additional 250 guardsmen will be on standby in flood-prone areas, Shank said.
• Rhode Island: The state has placed 300 guardsmen on standby.
• South Carolina: Gov. Nikki Haley has signed an executive order that allows three Guard helicopters to work with rescue efforts in North Carolina. Haley also has ordered nine members of the state’s urban search and rescue team to help in North Carolina.
• Virginia: The Virginia National Guard on Friday was mobilizing troops and equipment.
In addition, in a statement released Friday afternoon, the Defense Department said 101,000 guardsmen were available to the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the mayor of the District of Columbia if they were needed.