From a National Guard Bureau News Release
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2015 – National Guard units have been called to action in several states in the South, the Midwest and the Northeast in recent days to clear snow and help stranded motorists, among other missions, in response to the latest winter storm.
A report from the National Guard Coordination Center noted that about 600 Guard members from Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia are supporting response missions.
Those missions include providing personnel, transportation and equipment for direct assistance to state agencies, rescuing stranded motorists and clearing roads.
Arkansas Guard Responds
In Arkansas, local media reported that more than 120 soldiers and airmen and more than 60 vehicles were placed on state active duty March 4, ready for 24-hour operations to assist state police on highways. The teams are positioned in counties from the central to the northern part of the state.
Some Arkansas soldiers and airmen are on duty providing coordination, command and control, and administrative support at the subordinate command headquarters, as well as at the Guard’s joint operations center.
Two companies of the Kentucky National Guard were deployed to help rescue or assist hundreds of motorists on Interstate 24 between exits 16 and 35, and on I-65. The Weather Channel reported that Guard units were working four missions along Kentucky highways, moving stranded drivers to a safe zone.
“Kentucky normally doesn’t have 8 to 10 inches [of snow] in such a short period of time,” Army Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht of the Kentucky National Guard told The Weather Channel. In an interview with CNN about the effort to rescue stranded motorists, Hilbrecht assured drivers that Guard members were on their way. “Hang tight, we are coming,” he said in the report.
Two-week Effort Continues in Tennessee
Tennessee Army and Air National Guard members continued their work with state and local responders in recovery efforts from severe winter weather that has affected the state since two weeks ago, when about 20 members of the Tennessee Army Guard’s 194th Engineer Brigade were called out to perform health and wellness checks on motorists in response to rapidly deteriorating conditions on two interstate highways.
The latest initial order from the state’s emergency officials directed units to prepare for additional house-to-house welfare checks, provide trucks and crews to assist with debris removal, and man chainsaws to assist in clearing roads.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen damage this extensive as a result of a winter storm, or any storm for that matter, my entire life,” Army Maj. Colby Tippens, operations officer for 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Squadron, told Clarksville Online.
On March 2, local media reported that the Tennessee National Guard provided 12 military dump trucks with crews from both the Army and Air Guard to assist in debris removal in four counties.
Guard Responds in West Virginia, Virginia
In West Virginia, local media reported March 4 that more than four dozen Guard members have dispersed across the state to help with problems caused by the high water and to prepare for the expected snow.
Virginia National Guard officials said yesterday that more than 70 soldiers were staged and ready to respond to potential flooding from melting snow, clear road blockages, and provide mission command and logistical support for the operations.
Those activated included 60 soldiers from the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Stanton and at least a dozen soldiers from the 1030th Transportation Battalion in Gate City. Forces were alerted late in the afternoon March 3.