Always Ready, Always There: More than Just a Motto

The Army National Guard’s response to last month’s ferocious Winter Storm Jonas proved that “Always Ready, Always There” is more than just a motto for this branch of the military that’s dedicated to serving both community and country.

As much of the Mid-Atlantic, East Coast, and parts of the South hunkered down for January’s historic storm, the National Guard was poised to assist local and State emergency agencies, mainly because Soldiers were pre-positioned in strategic areas in advance of the blizzard.

According to National Guard Bureau, more than 2,200 Guard personnel from across 12 States supported State and local authorities affected by Jonas, as the storm dumped as much as 2 to 3-plus feet of snow in both major metropolitan and rural areas.

Governors in at least 11 States declared states of emergency, which enabled resources to be positioned to assist when the snow and high winds struck. Those States were Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Guard response in Virginia typified the Guard’s mission: Soldiers across the State assisted State Police troopers and local emergency organizations in saving at least two lives, getting through heavy snow to respond to vehicle crashes, evacuating residents in need of medical assistance, and getting equipment to a house fire.

Two Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's Fredericksburg-based Company F, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team use their medium tactical truck to assist an Arlington County Fire Department ambulance stuck in heavy snow Jan. 23, 2016, in Rosslyn, Va. (Photo by Virginia National Guard).

“After we received the authorization from Gov. (Terry) McAuliffe, we aggressively moved our forces into place so they would be ready to go when needed,” said MG Timothy P. Williams, adjutant general of Virginia. “It is great to see how the skills, experience, and resources of our Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are able to assist the statewide effort to protect the citizens of the commonwealth.”

COL W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent, agreed that the State Police were fortunate to have this additional support from the Guard.

“When every second counts in an emergency situation, having the ability to respond as swiftly and safely as possible is essential for our troopers,” he said.

In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser was emphatic to residents about how serious the storm was: “It has life and death implications, and (people) should treat it that way,” she said.

The National Guard deployed 100 personnel in 30 Humvees to transport essential employees throughout the Nation’s capital.

Farther north, the Delaware National Guard had approximately 200 Soldiers and Airmen positioned around the State to support citizens throughout the storm. In coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, Soldiers and Airmen conducted support missions, ensuring that Delaware residents were transported to safety and first responders and medical workers arrived to work safely.

MG Frank Vavala, adjutant general, Delaware National Guard, said, “Pre-positioning our Soldiers, Airmen and vehicles allowed us to be the ready and reliable force we are.”

If you’re interested in being ready and available to help when a crisis affects your community, contact a recruiter today and visit our job board to explore the more than 150 career fields you can train for in your military occupational specialty.

Original article by Steve Marshall, National Guard Bureau, appeared last month in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

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