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National Guard prepares for Hurricane Dolly

by Staff Sgt. Jeremy larlee
Air Force News Agency

7/22/2008 - BROOKS CITY-BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- National Guardsmen from Texas are being pre-positioned here, ready to respond to the Texas coast, to help citizens affected by Hurricane Dolly which is scheduled to make landfall July 23.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently activated 1,200 National Guardsmen and other emergency crews to prepare for the storm.

While preparing for the storm and under the direction of Army Col. Sean Ryan, brigade commander for the operation, the guardsmen are setting up a Joint Incident Communications Capability (JICC) that will provide video teleconference, satellite and cellular communications for the operation next to the Emergency Operations Center at Brooks-City Base.

"Once we were notified about the storm we began to look at the packages we would need," he said. "With the past natural disasters we have learned a lot about what we require to communicate properly."

He said that his team has also participated in numerous joint and interagency exercises to hone their abilities.

"It slowed initially and then all of a sudden it increased in speed," Colonel Ryan said. "We have had to re-adjust and decrease our response time. But it was nothing we couldn't handle."

Master Sgt. Mark Martinez is the NCO in charge of voice network system for the joint task force. He said he is excited to be in a position to help others and put the skills he has learned in the Air Force to use.

"All of the everyday training in the Air Force helps me be prepared for situations like this," he said." When you get down here you have to know your job and work well within a team."

According to the National Hurricane Center, Dolly was upgraded to hurricane status July 22 and is projected to hit landfall somewhere between northeastern Mexico and southern Texas.

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