At 5:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered south of the San Francisco Bay near Loma Prieta Mountain, California" the caption can be changed to, "Structurally damaged home in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, indicative of the damage of the Loma Prieta quake.
Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.
1989At 5:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered south of the San Francisco Bay near Loma Prieta Mountain, California, produces widespread damage to Bay Area property and infrastructure. By 6:00 pm, every National Guard unit in California is placed on alert for possible state active duty. The California National Guard activates just over 1,000 California Guardsmen to state active duty, all of whom responded to disaster relief operations by the following day. This was one of the largest domestic response incidents in the United States up until that time.
Within an hour of the earthquake, the California Air National Guard's 129th Aerospace and Recovery Group (129 ARG), based at the Moffett Field Naval Air Station near San Jose, had its first HC-130 Hercules transport conducting a damage assessment over the San Francisco Bay area. Three other units of the California Air Guard lent assistance later, including the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing, Point Mugu, which transported medical specialists and equipment; the 162nd Combat Communications Group based in Sacramento sent communications assistance; and, the 163rd Tactical Fighter Wing of Fresno sent personnel and heavy equipment to help with clean up. The 106th Aerospace and Recovery Group, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., provided pilots and a loadmaster to help their California-based counterparts with flying missions.
In addition, the California Army National Guard operated a helicopter detachment from the Alameda Naval Air Station. Their missions included medical evacuation, aerial observation and damage surveys, air transportation, and engineer support with C-130 cargo aircraft and 12 rotor-wing aircraft. Units providing medical response capabilities were the 175th Medical Brigade; 40th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade; the 115th Aviation Support Group, as well as California state headquarters and the Army Troop Command.
The California National Guard also formed two task forces in expectation of receiving missions from the California Office of Emergency Services. The Guard assisted greatly in the areas of aviation support to law enforcement and damage assessment operations.
The event was seen live by millions of viewers across the United States, as the temblor started just prior to the start of Game 3 of the World Series baseball championship between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. Property and infrastructure suffered tremendously. Another image widely broadcast to the nation was the collapse of multi-decked Interstate 880 in Oakland, which killed 42 people.
In all, 62 people were killed as a result of the quake, over 2,500 injured, and thousands more were left without homes. The California National Guard’s domestic response capabilities worked quickly and effectively to mitigate the widespread suffering of the region, and to bring about a sense of normality to Californians.