Guard Relieves Ice Storm Victims
By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 1998 DoD units and equipment have been working around the clock providing needed help to victims of the early January Northeast ice storm.
More than 3,000 National Guardsmen from five states have responded. Guard personnel are assisting communities with power generation, debris removal, transportation and shelter. As of Jan. 13, as many as 500,000 people were still without power throughout the region, said Army Lt. Col. Terry Jones, a spokesman in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.
Most of the guardsmen are from New York on state active duty. Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts also called up personnel.
At the request of New York Gov. George Pataki, President Clinton declared a federal state of emergency in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex and Clinton counties.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials requested support from DoD primarily in New York. They asked for aviation support, power assessments and portable generators.
The Canadian government requested a C-17 Globemaster transport with crew Jan. 11 to help move supplies and equipment. The C-17, from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., is carrying cargo between Montreal and Edmonton, Alberta.
The Defense Logistics Agency provided 41,000 cots to Canada Jan. 12, and an additional 20,000 are being shipped from warehouses in San Antonio, Jones said. DoD trucked the initial shipment from Pennsylvania and Virginia to the area.
The Army Corps of Engineers also joined the relief effort. The North Atlantic Division is manning emergency support functions at Albany, N.Y., and deployed elements of the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) of Fort Bragg, N.C., to provide emergency power assessments and generators.
Fifty generators are staged at Fort Drum, N.Y., awaiting requests for emergency deployment, according to Corps district officials. The 249th is preparing additional generators for deployment to the area.
The ice storm is not the only disaster scene with service members on hand. More than 500 Guard personnel are assisting flood victims in North Carolina and Tennessee, and 219 are in Guam supporting clean up efforts after Typhoon Paka.