USO Stands Ready to Support the National Guard as they Mobilize to Provide Aid During Winter Storms throughout the U.S. Southeast
Cover photo courtesy of South Carolina National Guard, Headquarters Support Company, 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
Most people know the USO supports our active duty service members and their families. What you may not know is the USO also supports over 400,000 National Guard members who are serving in places all over the world and in your own hometown.
The National Guard has a unique mission
The only branch with a two-fold mission, the National Guard is tasked with providing trained units for the U.S. to mobilize for missions at home and abroad while additionally providing support for individual U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia.
For nearly 400 years, the National Guard has responded to natural disasters in the U.S. while also answering the call to deploy overseas. The members of the National Guard are far more than “weekend-warriors.” They make a significant commitment when they enlist, which includes agreeing to deploy for missions in the U.S. and abroad.
Since early 2020 our USO centers across the Southeast, U.S., provided over 2,000 cases of water, and thousands of snack items and prepared meals to National Guard units throughout the region. The USO’s support provides the National Guard with the essential items and creature comforts, aiding them in accomplishing their mission.
Now, they have added a new mission this winter: provide aid during winter storms.
As your neighbors mobilize to provide support during the winter storms as part of the National Guard, the USO stands ready to support them as they take on this extremely important mission in safeguarding the American public.
In a news release shared Jan. 21, North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper mobilized the North Carolina National Guard to help his state ahead of a second winter storm expected to move through the state this week.
“Roads will become more dangerous and power outages are still expected tonight in southeastern counties,” said Cooper. “If you can, stay put and off the roads as that’s the best way to stay safe.”
Following the declaration of the State of Emergency by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Jan. 19, the South Carolina National Guard was activated to begin preparations for the weather response.
“We’ve been coordinating with state agencies and preparing our personnel and equipment following the winter storm response last weekend,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the adjutant general for South Carolina.
This activation is less than one week after the South Carolina National Guard conducted approximately 40 vehicle recovery missions Jan. 16-17, in support of the South Carolina Department of Transportation and South Carolina Department of Public Safety after a winter storm impacted the Upstate region.
Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen helped open roads in Stafford County Jan. 7 and cleared trees along power line routes in Louisa County Jan. 8 after heavy snow downed trees causing road blockage and power outages.
The Virginia National Guard recently alerted personnel for possible winter storm response operations and planed to stage approximately 45 Soldiers and Airmen Jan. 21, in key locations along the southern I-95 corridor and Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore areas. All personnel are expected to be ready for missions by late Friday afternoon.
“For the third time in two weeks, the Virginia National Guard is staging personnel to be ready in case they are needed to help state and local authorities respond to possible severe winter weather,” explained Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, the VNG Director of the Joint Staff. “The key to a rapid response is giving the advance notice to our units so that they can be in place before the bad weather makes travel more challenging.
There’s no telling how the winter weather will impact our local communities throughout the U.S. Southeast, but the USO will strive to ensure that National Guard units called to support their local communities have the resources and support they need.
To support the USO’s mission of strengthening America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation, please visit USO.org
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