CAMP CURTIS GUILD, Mass. -- Soldiers and Airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard came in from all over the state, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to aid the citizens of Massachusetts from the effects of Hurricane Irene, Aug. 27, 2011.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick activated the National Guard yesterday to prepare areas likely to be effected by the storm.
The 79th Troop Command will provide support, command, and control for Soldiers from the 126th Brigade Support Battalion, 211th Military Police Battalion, 101st Engineer Battalion, 164th Transportation Battalion, and the Air National Guard.
“We are staging people, equipment, and supplies across the commonwealth,” said Lt. Col. John Connors a South Hadley native, who serves as the executive officer with the 79th Troop Command Center.
With the predictability of the hurricane, we have the authority to bring Soldiers and units in earlier than before, allowing time for us to be better prepared, Connors said.
Soldiers are stationed at Camp Edwards, Camp Curtis Guild and Springfield for Hurricane Irene, said Connors.
“We have units out filling sandbags and we are prepared for a health and welfare check” said Connors. The Airmen from the 267th Combat Communications Squadron are here providing communication support for the 79th Troop Command.
“We provide internet, phone, and radio support,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Rich Hamel a Wareham native, who serves as the wideband communications technician for the Air National Guards 267th Combat Communications Squadron.
“We are staging vehicles, receiving truck assignments and anything else that is needed. We are ready to assist anything that needs to be moved” said Pvt. John Conti a Malden native, who serves as a truck driver with the 164th Transportation Battalion.
“From transporting water, to personnel, to supplies, we are ready”, said Conti.
“Soldiers are prepared at their stations and when the storm hits, we are ready to go,” said Connors.