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American Forces Press Service

South Dakota National Guard Prepares for Blizzard Response

American Forces Press Service

RAPID CITY, S.D. , Nov. 7, 2008 – Leaders of the South Dakota National Guard began preparing personnel and equipment last night to support the state's emergency response in the wake of a fall blizzard that began two days ago in the western part of the state.

During a conference call, senior Army and Air National Guard leaders across the state placed into action a plan to prepare soldiers and airmen to respond to five possible missions that the Guard may receive from the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management over the next few days.

Guard officials are preparing for search-and-rescue missions, support missions for snow removal and power restoration, requests for power generator equipment and aerial observation missions.

"Our soldiers and airmen will be there when called," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven R. Doohen, South Dakota’s adjutant general. "Our Guard members are getting ready to hit the road and support our state's emergency management agencies, save lives, and ease suffering."

National Guard support is based on needs and requirements vetted though the Office of Emergency Management, which is the lead agency for all state emergency response.

The Guard has numerous pieces of snow removal equipment such as snow blowers, loaders, bulldozers, road graders and dump trucks throughout the state to support the potential emergency response.

"Our greatest resource is our people and their ability to respond," Doohen said. "Our team is standing by."

The South Dakota National Guard has more than 4,000 soldiers and airmen available to respond to state emergencies, natural disasters and homeland defense.

(From a South Dakota National Guard news release.)

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