An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Dec. 28, 2022

Guard Saved Lives, Property, Responding to 2022 Disasters

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes, National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. – With approximately 450,000 members, the National Guard plays a role in every element of the National Defense Strategy, including defending the homeland. Over half of its members were involved in lifesaving natural disaster responses in 2022.

Throughout the year, 142,000 Guard members responded to wildfires across 19 states, 18,000 to floods across eight states, 12,000 to winter storms across 19 states, 1,700 to tornadoes and 1,000 to severe weather and volcanic activity.

“My motto is: ‘The answer is yes; what’s the question?’ “said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “The manning, training, and equipping that we receive to fight our nation’s wars enables us to do virtually anything in the homeland, which is why you see the National Guard really at the lead, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in hurricanes, wildfires, floods, or any disaster that occurs in the United States. If our nation needs the National Guard to do anything, we will find a way to do it.“

The emergency response to Hurricane Ian marked the year’s largest single-event disaster relief operation. More than 63,000 National Guard members from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington responded — saving over 2,000 people and 50 pets.

“As Guardsmen, it’s an honor and pleasure to be able to serve in disasters like this. When you see disasters like this, it’s awful and you want to be able to plug in and do your part to serve,” said Air Force Capt. Jason Davis, a civil engineering officer with the Florida Guard’s 202nd Red Horse Squadron.

The Guard conducted relief operations simultaneously in Puerto Rico and Alaska in September following Hurricane Fiona and Typhoon Merbok.

More than 14,000 Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands National Guard members answered Gov. Pedro Pierluisi’s call for help after Fiona’s heavy rains and damaging winds caused widespread damage, flooding, mudslides and power outages in Puerto Rico. Rescue teams evacuated more than 1,000 people.

“I especially want to thank the local first responders,” President Joe Biden said during a Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing. “I want to thank them — including the Puerto Rican National Guard, who have been working around the clock.”

The powerful remnants of Typhoon Merbok pounded Alaska’s western coast Sept. 17, prompting the activation of Joint Task Force Alaska - including approximately 1,500 Alaska Guard members.

Members of the task force removed over 125,000 pounds of debris and logged more than 2,000 work hours across 16 communities. Alaska Army National Guard helicopters also flew more than 7,000 miles, logging 70 flight hours.

In the last week of 2022, approximately 1,000 Guard members were activated nationwide for disaster relief operations such as winter storm responses and wildfires.

“We often say the National Guard is the connection to the fabric of America because Guardsmen are really almost in every town,” Hokanson said. “When our National Guards are called in to help, it’s usually because a disaster has exceeded the capability of the local officials or what we would call our first responders. And that’s our promise: Always Ready, Always There for our nation, for our communities and for each other.”



Related Articles
A 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II refuels a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 23, 2020. During a March 30, 2024, medical evacuation mission from JBER to near Ruby about 175 miles west of Fairbanks on the Yukon River, HC-130 refueling was necessary to extend the range of the HH-60.
Alaska Air Guard Rescue Airmen Help 3 Over Easter Weekend
By David Bedard, | April 5, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Alaska Air National Guard rescue personnel of the 176th Wing medically evacuated a stroke victim from Bethel March 30 before rescuing two injured snowmachine riders near Ruby the same...

Framed by the tail of a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II, a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk, carrying 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel personnel recovery Airmen, sorties from Unalakleet, Alaska, March 21, 2024. The HH-60 transloaded Guardian Angels to the HC-130 before continuing to Kotlik for a medical evacuation mission.
Alaska Air National Guard Medevacs Critically ill Patient
By David Bedard, | April 2, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Two Alaska Air National Guard Airmen jumped from a 176th Wing combat search and rescue aircraft into the village of Kotlik March 22 to expedite medical care for a critically ill...

UH-60L and CH-53 helicopters flying at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Alaska Guard Black Hawk Aviators Train at Marine Corps Course
By Alaska National Guard | March 26, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Aviators from the Alaska Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence are training at the Marine Corps Weapons Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course at Marine...