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    NY National Guard deploys for Christmas snow storm response

    New York National Guard responds to Christmas Snow Storm

    Photo By Eric Durr | New York Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 827th Engineer Company and...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    BUFFALO, New York—Four hundred and sixty New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were on state active duty Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, as New York state responded to the massive snowstorm which hit the Buffalo area over Christmas weekend.

    Additional troops were to be mobilized on Dec. 27, which would bring the strength to about 540.

    The region along Lake Erie was hit by four feet of snow over Christmas Eve and into Monday, Dec. 26, with additional snowfall expected on Dec. 27. Roads remain closed and many areas are without power.

    As of Tuesday, morning at least 28 deaths related to the storm had been reported and local officials expect the number to climb.

    "This is an epic, statewide hazard. There's no other way to describe this than, this is having an impact everywhere,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

    National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been conducting health and wellness checks with Buffalo police officers, clearing snow at critical locations, moving medical people to and from hospitals and other health facilities, and occasionally moving medical patients to hospitals.

    Along the way, the Soldiers and Airmen have rescued 86 people from hazardous situations, and in one case got a woman to John R. Oishei Children's Hospital just before she gave birth.

    “We have a running joke internally about how many babies Lieutenant (Richard) Burns is going to deliver today,” said Major Luke Udell, the task force operations officer.

    Private 1st Class Matthew Waldman, a member of the 105th Military Police Company, was delayed reporting into duty on Christmas Day, because he took time out to help deliver a baby.

    Waldman learned from his mother that a pregnant woman who he was close to had gone into labor. He diverted to her home and helped her deliver the baby. Then he reported in.

    Lt. Col Justin Couts, the commander of the joint task force in Buffalo, said he expected that more rescues will be recorded as reports get followed up on.

    The initial tasking from Hochul was for 50 Guard Airmen and Soldiers to provide transportation assistance. Additional personnel from the New York State Police, the Department of Transportation, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and the New York Thruway Authority were also assigned to the area.

    As the storm’s intensity exceeded expectations, the governor directed the New York National Guard to mobilize more troops with more capabilities.
    "We continue to work around the clock with local leaders to respond to this historic storm and are in contact with the White House to secure critical federal assistance to help our communities recover," Hochul said.

    Units mobilized for the mission came from western and Central New York.
    The 153rd Troop Command, a brigade level headquarters based in Buffalo’s Connecticut Street Armory is commanding the operation, while Army engineer support is being provided by the 827th Engineer Company from Horseheads.

    Soldiers from the 105th Military Police Company in Buffalo, and the 102nd Military Police Company in Auburn are conducting general purpose missions and assisting local police in conducting health and wellness checks.

    The 827th Engineer Company, based in Horseheads, initially deployed a front-end loader and skid steers to help with snow clearance. The unit was deploying dumb trucks and more front-end loaders to the area on Dec. 27.
    The 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry in Utica also deployed a general-purpose support team.

    The 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, deployed a debris clearance team, a general-purpose support team, and a runway snowblower which assisted in clearing parts of the New York State Thruway.

    Closer to the epicenter of the storm, the 107th Attack Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station deployed a general-purpose response force.

    They also deployed a team that is especially trained to help recover the remains of those who died. That unit is working with the Erie County emergency operations center.

    The 42nd Infantry Division was also deploying Soldiers from elements in Buffalo to assist with the mission.

    While conducting this mission, the New York National Guard also has 700 personnel on state active duty in New York City helping city officials cope with an influx of migrants. Another 700 personnel are on duty as part of Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the security mission in New York City.

    Another 2,200 Soldiers and Airmen are deployed overseas from the Horn of Africa and Kuwait, to Germany and Antarctica.



    Date Taken: 12.27.2022
    Date Posted: 12.27.2022 11:42
    Story ID: 435904
    Location: BUFFALO , NY, US

    Web Views: 816
    Downloads: 2