CAMP ROBINSON, Ark. - The forecast for severe winter weather across much of Arkansas triggered the Arkansas National Guard to prepare for a statewide winter weather response Wednesday.
The Guard is the only military service with a constitutionally unique dual-mission.
"I think most people do not realize that the Guard is the only service with a unique dual-mission to provide for the national defense, as well as, to respond to the needs of our fellow Arkansans when there is an emergency here at home," said Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, The Adjutant General for the Arkansas National Guard, "Although we spend most of our time preparing for the national defense mission, as Arkansans, it is the home mission that we are most passionate about."
Fifty Arkansas Army and Air National Guardsmen were ordered to state active duty Thursday to begin preparing equipment at twelve locations across Arkansas. If a request is received for Guard support, these Guardsmen will deploy within an hour and serve as the initial coordination team with local public safety officials.
"When responding to emergencies we support local law enforcement and public safety officials," said Brig. Gen. Keith A. Klemmer, Deputy Adjutant General for Arkansas, "our mission is to assist those officials in performing critical public safety services."
The Guard stands ready to perform a variety of winter weather response missions that include: providing transportation for law enforcement personnel, providing ambulance transportation for first responders, providing shelter for out-of-state utility workers and assisting with route clearance, if necessary.
If a community should require National Guard support the county judge or sheriff should contact the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM). The Arkansas National Guard can only respond to an emergency at the direction of ADEM. Citizens who encounter an emergency situation should dial 9-1-1.
Members of the Arkansas National Guard are encouraged to stay in contact with their units, monitor local media outlets and the Arkansas National Guard Facebook site at www.facebook.com/arkansasnationalguard, during the duration of the winter weather response. Although weekend drill may be postponed in some locations; Guardsmen must be ready to respond for a state active duty mission if called.