Thousands of Guardsmen, Reservists in Action Before Call Up
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2001 Thousands of National Guard and Reserve troops sprang into action immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, officials said.
Citizen soldiers were flying fighters and air transport aircraft and providing security, logistics and other support missions before Sept. 14, when President George W. Bush ordered a partial mobilization of the reserve components, National Guard Bureau spokesman Mark Allen said Sept. 16.
"The National Guard is engaged," he said. "Guard members have been in action from the beginning of the attacks on America."
As of today, Allen said, some 10,000 Army and Air Guard troops from 29 states are providing humanitarian relief, security, civil support, air defense and communications support as a result of the terrorist activities.
Allen said guardsmen were called to duty in New York, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland immediately after the attacks. Army and Air National Guard troops deployed to New York City are performing security, engineering, medical support and evacuation and debris clean up missions, he added. Other units are supporting Pentagon disaster relief and security efforts.
The New York National Guard weapons of mass destruction civil support team responded within hours to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers, he said.
"The survey team tested the general air quality that had been degraded by the explosions in the (Trade Center) buildings. They also tested for weapons-type contamination," Allen said. The team, half-Army and half- Air Guard, directly supported on-scene FBI agents in New York City using mobile satellite communications systems, he added.
Air National Guard fighter jets from the District of Columbia, Oregon and Ohio were scrambled for various air missions over U.S. air space. F-16 fighters from Texas and the District of Columbia escorted Air Force One on Sept. 11 when President Bush returned to Washington from Florida, according to National Guard Bureau reports.
Reservists are also stepping up to provide support in time of national emergency:
o Air Force Reserve search and rescue, air-medical evacuation, surgical, trauma and critical care specialists, and medical logistics teams have been deployed.
o Air Force Reservists are performing logistics and medical evacuation missions.
o Coast Guard Reservists are performing port security duties around the country.
o Marine Corps Reserve emergency preparedness liaison officers are working with defense coordination officers to assist Federal Emergency Management Agency units to provide support to New York City.
o Naval Reserve chaplains are assisting with casualty assistance calls in Washington.