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Homeland Security

Alabama National Guard making progress with tornado response

5/10/2011 - MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AFNS) -- Nearly two weeks after tornadoes that devastated much of the state April 27, the Alabama National Guard remains engaged responding to the disaster.

This has been the largest Alabama National Guard domestic response in Alabama's history.

Alabama National Guard officials called more than 2,900 Soldiers and Airmen to state active duty to respond to tasks given by the Alabama Emergency Agency to assist the residents throughout the affected areas.

Those numbers are down to approximately 2,000 after several power generation and points-of-distribution missions were concluded due to the return of electricity and other improved conditions in some areas of the state, officials said.

With the recovery of electricity, water and the beginning of debris removal in many places, the National Guard mission will change, officials said. To date, the Alabama Guard has completed the majority of missions received from local authorities and the AEMA. As these missions shift or are completed, troops will be reassigned to other duties or deactivated as appropriate.

The Alabama Guard continues to assist with security, logistics, aviation and other support missions in several central and north Alabama counties with the heaviest concentration of troops and equipment in the Tuscaloosa area, the officials said.

As the response continues into the recovery phase, the National Guard will continue to hand more missions over to local, state and federal authorities tasked with organizing recovery efforts, Guard officials said. However, the National Guard will continue to assist affected residents with its unique capabilities as long as local and state authorities deem necessary.

Supporting civil authorities in times of disaster is a principal mission of the National Guard. This is something that Guardsmen train for and respond to on a regular basis.

(Courtesy of Alabama National Guard Public Affairs)

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