National Guard headed home after winter storm response missions

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — More than 200 Alabama National Guardsmen deployed in north Alabama Wednesday evening are being sent home following missions along I-65 and I-59.

Governor Robert Bentley issued a State of Emergency deceleration for Wednesday’s record-breaking winter weather storm, prompting state Emergency Management officials to activate the guard.

The National Guard patrolled interstates and other state highways assisting drivers stuck in the snow and ice. Heavy duty military trucks and Humvees loaded with gear to help get drivers pulled out of ditches was used Wednesday evening.

Col. Jim Hawkins, Director of Military Support (DOMS)  says ANG members train to be prepared to respond quickly for disaster response to civilian authorities and the citizens of Alabama.

“The Alabama National Guard conducts training throughout the year in preparation to support the state during any emergency,” Col. Hawkins says. ” Of course, many of the functions we perform as units or individuals during the performance of our military duty overseas is equally applicable in domestic emergencies. The experience our soldiers, airmen and units have gained in overseas contingency operations pays great dividends when we are needed at home for emergencies,” he added.

The National Guard has formed contingency plans for several weather related emergencies, including winter snow storms like we experienced Wednesday.

“We work and train closely with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and our other inter-agency partners,” Hawkins said. “Alabamians can be proud to have some of the finest emergency personnel in the world in these agencies.”