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    When Jonas arrived, the NJ National Guard was ready



    Story by Staff Sgt. Wayne Woolley 

    New Jersey National Guard   

    By Staff Sgt. Wayne Woolley
    NJDMAVA Public Affairs

    LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - As a meteorological Leviathan named Winter Storm Jonas churned up the East Coast, more than 200 New Jersey National Guard troops were prepared to aid civil authorities in the response to the potentially life-threatening blizzard.

    On Friday, Gov. Chris Christie returned from the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire and announced a state of emergency for the Garden State, a declaration that cleared the way for the widespread mobilization of traditional drilling Soldiers and Airmen, if necessary.

    “The job of the National Guard is to provide a trained an ready force of military first responders to assist civil authorities,” said Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, The Adjutant General of New Jersey. “Our equipment allows us to provide unique capacities during extreme weather events.”

    No widespread call-up of troops was necessary in New Jersey, as the heaviest snowfalls and whiteout conditions did not arrive in the state until late Friday evening, long after most commuters had reached their destinations. More than 200 troops remained stationed at strategic locations across the state throughout the storm.

    There were two important missions conducted by the National Guard on Saturday morning, during some of the heaviest snowfall and most reduced visibility.

    According to Col. Kevin Hegarty, the director of the National Guard’s Homeland Security Center of Excellence, the first mission was to assist emergency personnel and the leadership of a JFK Medical Center in Edison scout the best possible routes for ambulances and keep a real-time tally of roads still passable by emergency vehicles.

    In email to, Capt. Andy Toth, Edison’s emergency manager, said the Guardsmen played an important role at hectic time.

    "In some cases, we needed help just to get people from their houses to ambulances," Edison's emergency manager, Toth wrote. "In a few cases, streets were so bad that the Humvees helped transport people to JFK Medical Center for treatment."

    In the other mission, the National Guard led a convoy of vehicles transporting Christie and three of his cabinet members to a news conference in Sayerville.

    “The main part of that mission was to allow the governor and members of his cabinet to be out and adding to their situational awareness,” Hegarty said.



    Date Taken: 01.25.2016
    Date Posted: 01.27.2016 11:13
    Story ID: 186999

    Web Views: 63
    Downloads: 0