National Guard Activated in Response to New England Flooding
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2006 The governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts activated the National Guard yesterday in response to flooding and road closures across both states.
In New Hampshire, 400 National Guardsmen -- 300 soldiers and 100 airmen -- will be on standby for at least 72 hours at the Manchester Armory, and Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington prepared to assist first responders with evacuations, traffic control points and other flood-related emergencies, according to a New Hampshire National Guard news release.
As of 9:30 p.m. yesterday, about 75 New Hampshire guardsmen had been called to assist with traffic control in the towns of Hooksett and Goffstown, and with home evacuations in Raymond.
"New Hampshire's citizen-soldiers are in place ready to provide the necessary support to ensure people are safe and out of harm's way," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth Clark, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.
In Massachusetts, National Guard units are assisting with pubic safety operations in response to flooding in the commonwealth.
About 270 soldiers have been placed on state active duty in response to the severe weather conditions, according to a Massachusetts National Guard news release. The units have all-wheel-drive vehicles that can help transport people and engineering equipment in support of local first responders. Guard units have been tasked by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency with transportation, traffic control and flood mitigation missions, according to the release.
The Guard units are helping with flood mitigation in Medford, Mass., and transportation and traffic control in Methuen and Peabody.
"This is one of our primary missions," said Army Brig. Gen. Oliver J. Mason Jr., adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. "The missions we will perform are still being developed, and the situation is still developing, but whatever comes our way, the men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard will be ready to lend a hand."
Torrential rain across New England has forced hundreds of people from their homes as water flows over dams and washes out roads. The rain is expected to continue at least through today.