With 282 Soldiers and Airmen still on duty and heavily engaged in supporting state and local emergency agencies, the Delaware National Guard’s role is far from over.
“We made it through the snow, but the job’s not done,” as Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, the Adjutant General, just put it to leaders on a conference call.
In just the last few hours our county task forces report significant increases in the number “missions” we are conducting. Of the 250 missions the DNG has conducted in the second wave of this storm, about 50 are currently ongoing. Task forces report that our operations tempo, or the number of requests we have been tasked to support, has nearly doubled between 5 a.m. this morning and 1 p.m. this afternoon.
That increase in support requests has been mainly for transport of dialysis patients (all 3 counties), assisting stranded motorists (all 3 counties), and working with DelDOT to clear roads of stranded or abandoned vehicles (mostly in Sussex).
The Delaware National Guard has also provided transportation to emergency shelters in each county, with less than 10 people going into shelters in NCC, 25 in Kent, and 20 in Sussex. *These numbers reflect only DNG transport, not actual numbers in the American Red Cross-run shelters.
We have conducted over 600 missions since the first wave of the storm hit Friday night. But that figure does not reveal much, as DNG vehicles on their way out or way back from missions are stopping to assist stranded motorists.
Partly because of this and partly because of the frenetic pace, we won’t be able to provide exact numbers–of how many dialysis patients were transported, how many stranded motorists were rescued, how many citizens were evacuated from areas without power, or how many vehicles were cleared from the roads–any time soon. As soon as we have estimates, we will provide them.
Task Force New Castle County has on hand: 13 HMMWV’s, 10 larger trucks (known as Medium Tactical Vehicles), 1 wrecker; about 110 Guardsmen.
Task Force Kent County has: 16 HMMWV’s, 5 MTV’s, 1 wrecker, about 80 Guardsmen.
Task Force Sussex County: 13 HMMWV’s, 8 MTV’s, 1 wrecker, about 70 Guardsmen.
Each task force is prepared sustain 24-hour operations.
The Director of Military Support notes that the current force of about 280 will stay in place at least through tomorrow.
The Delaware National Guard works in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency to assist local and state agencies in protecting the citizens and property of the First State.
“Our withdrawal or drawdown is predicated on the needs of the citizens of Delaware,” said Vavala. That call is not the Guard’s to make.