National Guard Responds to Midwest Tornadoes
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Mar. 1, 2012 As of 11 a.m. EDT, the National Guard had about 90 Guard members supporting civilian authorities responding to tornadoes that ripped through communities throughout the Midwest, Guard officials said today.
The twisters struck during the early morning hours yesterday, affecting Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has mobilized 50 to 60 Army Guard members from the 35th Engineer Brigade to assist the Branson, Mo., police department with nighttime security efforts, Missouri Guard officials said.
“These storms have caused extensive damage across Missouri, and widespread damage and debris continue to pose significant risk to lives and property,” Nixon said. “As a result, I have ordered the Missouri National Guard to deploy citizen-soldiers and assets to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery.
“Missouri’s citizen-soldiers performed tremendously during disaster response efforts throughout 2011,” he continued, “and I know that they will help ensure public safety.”
Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, Missouri’s adjutant general, said his Guard members are prepared and equipped to handle anything the governor requires of the National Guard.
“Our soldiers and airmen are ready to assist their fellow Missourians,” Danner said. “We served extensive state missions in 2011, and have seasoned leaders, soldiers and airmen who bring years of experience to their mission.”
In addition to the Guard members mobilized, the Missouri National Guard has a total force of more than 11,500 soldiers and airmen ready to respond, he said.
The Kentucky National Guard has mobilized about 30 Guard members to LaRue County – 56 miles south of Louisville – to assist local authorities with security and traffic control efforts.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency for affected counties in southern Illinois, but has not mobilized the Illinois National Guard. Illinois National Guard officials say that the Illinois Guard is ready and equipped if or when the governor makes the call.
The governors of Kansas and Tennessee have mobilized by their National Guards, but under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, they are ready to answer the call for their citizens and their neighboring states, officials said.
(The Missouri National Guard public affairs office contributed to this report.)