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NEWS | Jan. 28, 2015

Post-blizzard, Airmen and Soldiers packing up in Northeast

By Eric Durr New York National Guard

NEW YORK - About 390 New York Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen called out as part of New York state's response to the snow event dubbed Winter Storm Juno by the Weather Channel were heading back to their home stations this morning as the sun began to shine again.

Engineer Soldiers from the 204th Engineer Battalion, who had moved to Farmingdale, Long Island, from armories in Buffalo, Horseheads, and Binghamton had the longest distance to go. About 100 engineers along with front-end loaders and dump trucks were dispatched to Long Island to provide assistance to Suffolk County governments conducting snow removal if necessary.

Once the Soldiers return to their home stations they will remain on duty for a couple of days in order to conduct maintenance on their vehicles, said Col. Steve Fukino, the director of domestic operations for the New York National Guard.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called out the National Guard troops on Monday morning, as part of a coordinated New York State response to the Northeast blizzard which was predicted to hit New York City and the Hudson Valley hard.

Based on those forecasts the governor declared a state of emergency and banned travel on major roadways Monday night. The New York City and regional transit systems also were shut down.

Conditions were better than expected on Tuesday morning and New York National Guard troops began winding down their missions.

In New York City, National Guard Soldiers positioned 25 Humvees and six high-axle trucks at fire stations across the five boroughs of the city in order to support emergency medical technicians. The National Guard Soldiers were there to drive EMTs to locations on roads which may become impassable due to high snow accumulations.

On Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen provided mobility support with humvees to the New York State Police and local police agencies.

National Guard tractor trailers were on hand on Long Island to assist in moving state emergency supplies if requested.

A total of 97 pieces of equipment, to include 75 high-axle trucks and Humvees, were dedicated to the National Guard response mission. Four front-end loaders, seven small skid-steer loaders and 12 dump trucks were also assigned to provide support if necessary.

At F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton, para-rescue airmen assigned to the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing prepared snowmobiles for use if necessary.

Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters were also ready on standby.

According to figures from the National Guard Bureau, about 1100 Soldiers and Airmen were assisting in the aftermath of the storm in Northeast states. Pennsylvania troops will be demobilizing but some were assisting with snow removal. In Connecticut, which had about 400 personnel called up, some were removing snow and clearing routes and assisting with power generation, the NGB said. Rhode Island's 43rd Air Wing relocated four aircraft to Charleston, S.C. Some troops there were helping with snow removal and traffic control.

Massachusetts Soldiers rescued a few people from high water in Scituate, a seacoast town midway between Boston and Plymouth, according to news reports. "There was nothing life threatening in this particular situation," said Spc. Jian Barcelo, who rescued Erin Masyczek. "I didn't save her life, but she was in a dangerous situation and we were able to make her life a little easier," he told NBC News.

Contributing: Steve Marshall of the National Guard Bureau

 

 

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