National Guard Assists Governors of States in Sandy’s Path
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2012 National Guard members are at work in seven states as Hurricane Sandy takes aim at the East Coast.
As of 8 p.m. yesterday, about 1,500 National Guard forces were on state active duty supporting the governors of New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Maryland.
These forces are helping local first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency with tasks such as assistance at evacuation shelters, route clearance, search and rescue and delivery of essential equipment and supplies, officials said.
More than 61,100 National Guard members are available to assist civilian authorities in potentially affected states in support of relief efforts, officials said. Available National Guard resources include almost 140 helicopters that can perform search and rescue, reconnaissance and personnel or cargo-carrying missions.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has appointed “dual status” commanders to command both federal and state National Guard forces in the affected states. Pentagon officials said the special authority enables commanders to integrate defense support operations and capabilities effectively when governors request them. Panetta is prepared to agree quickly to similar requests from other states, officials added.
Meanwhile, U.S. Northern Command has put aviation assets such as light- and medium-lift helicopters and rescue teams on 24-hour status to prepare to deploy in response to the storm. Northcom also is providing military installations for the FEMA to use in its response operations.