Guardsmen Respond to Flooding Across 3 States

South Carolina National Guardsmen with the 108th Chemical Company and the 1118th Forward Support Company assist with a fire truck stuck in high water in Charleston, S.C., Oct. 4, 2015. (South Carolina Army National Guard photo by Capt. Brian Hare)
South Carolina National Guardsmen with the 108th Chemical Company and the 1118th Forward Support Company assist with a fire truck stuck in high water in Charleston, S.C., Oct. 4, 2015. (South Carolina Army National Guard photo by Capt. Brian Hare)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Roughly 1,300 National Guardsmen in three states are on duty Oct. 5 in response to severe flooding following heavy rainfall generated by Hurricane Joaquin. In hard-hit South Carolina, soldiers and airmen with the South Carolina National Guard have been performing a variety of missions. On Saturday, Guardsmen delivered more than 14,000 sandbags to numerous locations throughout areas affected by flooding. With all the rainfall we’ve been getting, these sandbags will go on highways and bridges to ensure that the highway infrastructure stays intact,” South Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Smith, with the 1050th Transportation Battalion, said Oct. 4. South Carolina Army Guardsmen used UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to respond to multiple rescue missions over the weekend, South Carolina Guard officials said. Additionally, National Guardsmen used high-clearance vehicles to transport first responders through high water and to recover fire trucks stranded in high water areas. Guardsmen in South Carolina may be called out to support other missions, including clearing debris, security operations and distribution of food and water. “I like being able to help the people of South Carolina because I know they need my help,” said South Carolina Army National Guard Spc. Joshua Monk, with the 1052nd Transportation Company. “We train and prepare for this throughout the year.” Flooding in North Carolina, Virginia Guardsmen have also been responding to flood conditions in North Carolina and Virginia. In Virginia, soldiers and airmen have been providing high water rescue support, chainsaw teams to clear debris, and transportation and distribution of water to those in the affected area. Over the weekend, more than 550 Guardsmen were on duty in Virginia mostly in the Hampton Roads, central Virginia and Shenandoah Valley areas. “This is awesome for us,” said Virginia Army National Guard Capt. Kevin Hoffman, the operations officer for the 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment. “We get to help out the people that we live with and work with every day, and get to give back to the community.” Approximately 140 Virginia Guardsmen remain on duty prepared to assist with high water transport, debris removal and other missions, said Virginia National Guard officials. Over the weekend, Guardsmen in Maryland were staged along coastal areas, such as Ocean City, with medium tactical vehicles to assist with evacuation of the area. In nearby Delaware, water tankers and other equipment were staged as well. Members of the New York National Guard were busy in Albany and other areas throughout the state clearing debris. Continued rain could lead to additional flooding in the affected areas and Guardsmen could be called upon to perform additional high water rescue missions, provide air support, health and welfare checks, transportation and distribution of critical supplies and a variety of other mission sets.

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