By Mississippi National Guard
Mississippi Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to an engineer composite team pack supplies in preparation to conduct high-water rescues in response to Hurricane Sally at Camp Shelby Joint Force Training Center, Miss., Sept. 15, 2020. The Mississippi National Guard is prepared to conduct civil support operations, including search and rescue and debris removal, to support local and state authorities.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Mississippi Army National Guard (MSNG) Soldiers are ready to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, which made landfall along Alabama's Gulf Coast as a Category 2 storm Wednesday.
The MSNG has unique capabilities that could provide first responders with additional resources to protect people and property and fulfill natural disaster relief and response missions as directed by the governor.
The 223rd Engineer Battalion from West Point and the 890th Engineer Battalion of Gulfport are ready to respond in support of civilian emergency response agencies. MSNG units are prepositioned at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg and at MSNG Readiness Centers at Picayune, Pascagoula and Gulfport.
"The ability for our Soldiers to deploy with little or no lead time is a reflection of our Soldiers' commitment and willingness to support their communities and state," said Lt. Col. Thomas Howell, battalion commander, 223rd Engineer Battalion, West Point.
The 890th Engineer Battalion and the 223rd Engineer Battalion both have three high water rescue composite teams prepared to execute missions as directed by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Each team includes 10 Soldiers, one high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, two high water rescue vehicles, life vests, throw rings, ropes, blankets, gloves, and chemical lights. MSNG has a total of 60 trained Soldiers serving on these six composite teams ready to respond with high water rescue and recovery operations in the wake of Hurricane Sally.
"Our Soldiers decided to join the National Guard for missions just like this one and look forward to serving the communities where they live, work, and grew up," said Lt. Col. Jason D. Holmes, battalion commander 890th Engineer Battalion, Gulfport.