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Guard Responds in Record D.C. Snowfall

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2010 – Members of the District of Columbia National Guard have been on the job through an historic snowstorm and post-storm cleanup, supporting emergency response efforts and more in the nation's capital.

By this morning, D.C. Guard crews had finished nearly 200 missions in support of Washington’s emergency response, transporting Metro police and firemen to work and critical medical personnel from their homes to hospitals. The D.C. Guard is prepared to continue its mission in support of the city through Thursday.

With more than 30 inches of snow falling on the city Saturday, even the District’s top cop was affected. At the request of Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier, a Humvee crew from the D.C. National Guard transported several critical police personnel for response to an incident.

Army Sgt. Bobby Graham, of the 273rd Military Police Company, and Spec. Jerome Washington, of the 547th Transportation Company, started their shift shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday morning. With the District’s public transportation system down, the pair encountered few moving vehicles as they made their way toward the Metro Police Department’s Fourth District Headquarters.

“It’s all ice out there now,” Graham said. “It’s only 14 degrees outside.”

Pointing to an abandoned vehicle blocking a side street, Washington explained that snow is just one of the obstacles they face in a snow emergency. “Once they get stuck, jammed up like that, you’ve got to back up and find another way around. It cost us a lot of time.”

Nearing their destination, Graham coaxed the Humvee up a snow-covered hill near Catholic University. The fact that the vehicle could make it up the hill is a definite sign of improvement.

With white-out blizzard conditions, Washington said, “We wouldn’t have tried that yesterday.”

More than 100 D.C. Guardsmen were called in to respond to the snow emergency in Washington. The group deployed teams of drivers in Humvees across the city to help critical personnel make it to work. Working 12-hour shifts, the teams ensured that police officers, firemen, doctors and other critical emergency personnel made it to their jobs.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” she said, “and I wouldn’t be going home. They’ve been a real blessing.”

At Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the 113th Wing remained on duty 24/7 with F-16s on alert throughout the weekend storm.

With another snowfall expected Tuesday, D.C. Guardsmen were preparing to continue providing support to the nation's capital.

(From a District of Columbia National Guard news release.)

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