National Guard Members Responded to Tornado Outbreak Across Southern States
In the deadly aftermath of a tornado outbreak that struck across the South in late April, hundreds of National Guard members — in coordinated efforts with civilian agencies — responded to communities in several states.
In Arkansas, storms hit hardest in the communities of Mayflower and Vilonia.
Major Matt Snead, public affairs officer with the Arkansas National Guard, said about 70 Guard members were called to tornado-damaged areas. They brought with them 22 Humvees and various other vehicles and equipment, as well as provided a staging area for the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Camp Robinson.
Snead said Mayflower and Vilonia are not far from Camp Robinson, and so several Guard members themselves were injured and lost homes, businesses, and other personal property when the storms hit.
To date this year, the Arkansas National Guard has performed more than 100 missions, such as manning traffic control points, presence patrols, search and recovery operations, water distribution, and access control in response to severe weather.
In Mississippi, severe storms and several tornados caused devastating damage to Lee County, near Tupelo, in the northern part of the state. Tim Powell, public affairs officer for the Mississippi National Guard, said about 50 Guard members responded in that area.
In the eastern part of the state, another 50 Guard members also responded to extensive tornado damage in Winston County near Louisville. They assisted first with search and rescue efforts and later contributed to recovery efforts. Powell said other missions Guard members conducted in that area included traffic control, checkpoints, presence patrols, and assisting local law enforcement as needed.
“The tornados were widespread,” Powell said, “and the men and women of the Mississippi National Guard responded very quickly and professionally.”
In Tennessee, about 20 Guard members also responded to storm damage, while more than 100 Alabama National Guard members went on standby pending any further severe weather in that state.
Original article by Staff Sergeant Darron Salzer of the National Guard Bureau was published April29, 2014, on NationalGuard.mil.