The National Guard has a critical role in assisting local authorities with disaster response efforts. This could include natural events such as tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, snow storms, or any other local emergency. The National Guard is not normally used as the primary response. Instead, their role is to step up and assist the local authorities when they need help. Typically, they are only called up when local authorities do not have the resources or manpower to do the mission.
Natural disasters happen quite frequently in the United States. Look on any television channel and you will see coverage for some type of event (as mentioned above). In just about every case, you will see “Citizen Soldiers” assisting the police, fire fighters and local authorities.
The National Guard works closely with local authorities, Northern Command, the National Guard Bureau, FEMA and other state and federal agencies. When a disaster occurs the state governor can “activate” forces to help out. The National Guard can perform a large variety of missions such as traffic control, snow removal, search and rescue, evacuation, debris removal, civil disturbance control, evacuation and much, much more.
Typically, the National Guard has significant manpower, equipment and resources that many local authorities do not have. This is what makes them so relevant and helpful.
During my time in the Maryland Army National Guard, my unit was activated several times to help out with big snow storms. Our unit did snow removal, helped evacuate residents, provided food and water to citizens and much more.
Big snow storms seemed to be a frequent issue in Maryland. In other states, units get activated for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. The “disaster” or “emergency” can vary significantly depending upon where you live.
I always enjoyed helping out my state. That was one of my favorite things about serving in the National Guard. I knew that if things went haywire locally, there was a good chance we would get activated to help out. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than helping out other state residents in a time of need.
The bottom line is that the National Guard is there when they are needed. They do so many important things to support the disaster response efforts, working alongside the local authorities. It’s really a win-win situation for the state’s residents, the local authorities and the National Guard units.
What are your thoughts about the National Guard Disaster Response Mission? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think or to share a personal story. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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