Army National Guard Sgt. Maj. Derwin Wesson and his wife Batina or “Blue” Wesson, await a flight out of Savannah Air National Guard Base to St. Croix, Sept. 24, 2017. Wesson is the incoming Virgin Islands Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major. The couple was delayed at the Georgia Air National Guard, 165th Airlift Wing processing center with their cat and three dogs during their change of station, amidst hurricane disaster recovery efforts in the Caribbean. Hundreds of military, state and federal personnel are processing through the support for contingency operations center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)
Air National Guard Airmen and civilians assigned to the ANG Crisis Action Team facility at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland work issues in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — The Air National Guard continued its hurricane recovery efforts in multiple states today. Thousands of Airmen from nearly every state and territory were called to duty in the past weeks in the face of unprecedented back-to-back massive hurricanes that left the South reeling and broken.
Millions of homes and businesses were without power. Among them, tens of thousands of structures flooded, or completely shredded, with 50 inches of rain dumped in Texas and with wide-spread hurricane damage in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and the Caribbean.
National Guard Bureau officials stressed during their afternoon joint operations meeting Sept. 12 that although the dangerous weather passed, the need for safety and need for the National Guard has not — as long as states request support they will remain operating, they said.
Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. The official logo for National Preparedness Month 2017. (Photo illustration by Ready.gov.)
Why check your emergency information? September is National Preparedness Month. Americans know natural disasters, if not from personal experiences, then through others’. Anticipating a disaster helps ensure our preparedness.
I’ll share my first memory, of Tropical Storm Carrie in 1972. I was four. I don’t recall much except that we had a gas stove and my mom popped corn in the dark while the thunder boomed outside. (I realize that this is small in comparison to disasters others faced, but it was pretty scary. So it must be for the kids in Houston.)
As Hurricane Harvey reminds us, while our memories fade, events may spring unrealized, anywhere and anytime. All severe weather can cause significant damage and risk of life. The need for proper emergency planning is critical in response. So if you’re with me, this might be our fair warning to recheck our records and plans for ourselves, family and friends.
When National Guard soldiers and airmen show up for the thousands of missions they perform, they know they’re part of the right unit, in the right place, at the right moment. But, getting them to a mission does not happen by chance.
That’s partly because the joint staff at the National Guard Bureau, along with the Army and Air Guard’s readiness centers work behind the scenes with the states and territories to put the Guard’s best foot forward.
The National Guard’s support to the current presidential inauguration is no different, but its footprint is nearly four times larger than any in previous inaugurations.