Guard Snapshot: Florida

Florida National Guard Responds to Panhandle Flooding

More than 75 members of the Florida Army National Guard were called last month to assist civilian first-responders in Florida’s Panhandle after Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties due to inundations of torrential rain.

Soldiers in a high-water military vehicle from the Florida National Guard's 144th Transportation Company make their way through flooded roads near Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. (Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa)

Soldiers in a high-water military vehicle from the Florida National Guard's 144th Transportation Company make their way through flooded roads near Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. (Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa)

Soldiers from the 144th Transportation Company and the 779th Engineering Company arrived in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties with 24 high-water trucks and other support vehicles at the direction of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Specialist James Knight with the 114th, one of the Soldiers assisting area law enforcement and emergency services, spent the first day on the scene driving members of the local fire rescue through flooded neighborhoods in one of the Guard’s five-ton trucks.

“We can go a lot of places that they can’t, and can carry any people and equipment that they might need in those areas.”

As a whole, the Florida National Guard can mobilize about 9,000 personnel to perform a range of emergency management services, from search and rescue to area security and logistics support. Their essential tasks under the direction of emergency managers are: protect life and property; maintain peace, order and public safety; and provide support to local, state, and federal emergency responders.

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Original article and photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa, Florida National Guard, was published May 1, 2014, on NationalGuard.mil.

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