SEPTEMBER 2, 2021 – Hundreds of National Guardsmen with the Georgia National Guard assembled and mobilized out of hometown armories and bases across the state Sept. 1, 2021, in response to Hurricane Ida’s impact in Louisiana. The units of the Georgia National Guard are departing 16 years to the day after mobilizing to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Georgia’s Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen who are en route to Louisiana have a wealth of experience in hurricane response having mobilized in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma, Michael and Dorian in recent years. While some of the Guardsmen are responding to their first hurricane, among the senior enlisted and officer ranks of the units are Soldiers and Airmen who participated in the Katrina response.
Among the veteran units responding is the 170th Military Police Battalion whose Guardsmen are drawn from units in Monroe, Decatur and Fort Stewart, Georgia. Not only have these Soldiers provided crucial support to law enforcement and traffic flow operations following major storms, but many have also served for more than a year as part of the state’s coordinated response to COVID-19. The 170th MP BN is assigned to the Marietta-based 201st Regional Support Group, which is responsible for the Region IV Homeland Response Force mission.
In addition to the military police units, the Augusta-based 878th Engineer Battalion with units in Toccoa, Atlanta and Douglasville, Georgia, mobilized with heavy equipment capable of clearing roads of debris in order to enable power companies to reach and repair downed power lines. Like the 170th MP BN, the engineers have been tested in past hurricane responses and also have personnel currently assisting in the state’s response to COVID-19. The 878th EN BN is assigned to the Columbus-based 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which has historically provided engineering, logistics and transportation capability to state and local agencies in the event of natural disasters.
The Marietta-based 78th Troop Command has dispatched transportation and logistics personnel of the 110th Combat Service Support Battalion’s 1148th Transportation Company. The 1148th is capable of large-scale distribution of humanitarian supplies, fuel and logistics packages. Transportation and logistics units have consistently provided valuable capacity to humanitarian assistance efforts.
The Georgia Air National Guard has mobilized Civil Engineers and Security Forces Airmen of the Warner Robins-based 116th Air Control Wing and 165th Airlift Wing based in Savannah. During past hurricane responses, these Citizen Airmen have rapidly deployed debris clearance teams and security specialists to hard-hit areas providing enhanced capabilities and options for local first responders.
While these units of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard have a widely diverse skill set and are drawn from across the state, they all have two things in common: all have supported overseas combat operations and responded to natural disasters at home. The vast majority of them are traditional Guardsmen who have full-time civilian jobs and live and work in communities across the state.
Story by Maj. William Carraway
Georgia National Guard