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American Forces Press Service

Massachusetts Guard Helps Combat Blizzard

By Army Lt. Col. James Sahady
Massachusetts National Guard

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., Jan. 30, 2015 – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated nearly 500 soldiers and airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard Monday in response to a historic January blizzard that dumped three feet of snow in areas of central Massachusetts.

Soldiers and airmen were called to state active duty to provide support to civil authorities in response to the winter storm conditions in order to save lives, prevent further injury and protect critical infrastructure. The Massachusetts personnel joined National Guard members from several other states in responding to the threat presented by the blizzard.

Winter Storm's Snow, High Winds

Winter Storm Juno pounded Massachusetts with snow and high winds leading to thousands of power outages, especially on Nantucket. About 24 inches of snow was reported in Boston and 36 inches was reported in Auburn and Luneburg. Wind gusts of more than 70 mph were reported Tuesday night on Cape Cod.

"We have been working in coordination with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to ensure that we respond to the right situation, with the right people and equipment, at the right time," said Air Force Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard.

"Our immediate tasks were to develop emergency response plans and evaluate conditions pending specific support tasking from MEMA," Rice said.

The Guard pre-positioned 40 trucks at 30 different locations to transport first responders, evacuate civilians and conduct wellness-check support to civil authorities in areas affected by the blizzard.

Assisting Local Authorities

The Guard assisted local authorities during the disaster response and rescued and evacuated several people. The main rescue and evacuation missions took place in the towns of Scituate, Hull, Weymouth, Hopkinton and Marshfield. The Guard was staged in several areas throughout the commonwealth, particularly in the coastal communities where high tidal surge was possible.

The Massachusetts National Guard's Task Force Yankee provided command and control of soldiers, airmen and equipment from the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 102nd Intelligence Wing, 104th Fighter Wing, 51st Troop Command, 151st Regional Support Group and the 65th Public Affairs Operations Center.

The Guard completed 10 major missions in more than 20 communities. Missions included stranded motor vehicle recovery teams, high water rescue and evacuation teams, shelter operations, emergency roadway clearing, logistical and liaison support, communications and command functions.

Founded as the Massachusetts Bay Colonial Militia on Dec. 13, 1636, the Massachusetts National Guard has provided a trained and ready force, serving the community, the commonwealth, and the nation for 379 years.

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