We’re back with a new blog post. Today’s blog will discuss the latest efforts of Army reserve members, as they have been working to support those affected by Hurricane Florence. Florence made landfall around Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14th, nearly one week ago, and residents of that area as well as surrounding areas have been impacted by historic flooding, power outages, and so on. In the days following the end of what has been a historic, deadly storm, members of the US Army Reserve have been working to aid those that are rebuilding and recovering, in any way possible.
According to the US Army news from the site, there are more than 13,000 soldiers providing total army support to the Hurricane response. This includes the US Army, the US National Guard, and the US Army Reserve. Also according to the reports, there are over 90 rotary wing aircraft from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve committed to the effort with over 200 additional aircraft available within 24-72 hours if needed. With many citizens being displaced - including more than 3,000 Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, and dependents are displaced due to the impacts of the hurricane - the US Army have been completely committed to providing total army support and helping those who have been so horribly affected by this devastating storm.
One of the first instances of help by the Reserve members was reported as lawyers involved with the Army Reserve were supporting emergency operations during Hurricane Florence. As the Hurricane made landfall, Army Reserve Legal Command Soldiers were ready and on hand to provide support to civil authorities during military operations. It has been reported that soldiers from 213th, 87th and 6th Legal Operations Detachments were mobilized to provide legal assistance to Defense Support for Civil Authorities, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, and local civil authorities in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to an article on the US Army website. In Columbia, South Carolina, Maj. Michael Madsen, an officer from the 87th Legal Operations Detachment, worked with defense coordinating officers and the South Carolina National Guard. His role was also to check for legal implications when requests for military support came in. Also according to the article, in North Carolina, Maj. Ralph Bailey, a judge advocate from the 213th LOD, was assigned to review mission assignments from the regional Defense Coordinating Element.
Soldiers have also helped to evacuate hundreds of stranded citizens in the aftermath of the Hurricane. With the rising water that continued to plague the Carolinas, soldiers continued to work tirelessly to help evacuate the hundreds of victims who were stuck due to the awful weather and devastating, historic floods. The Army also provided high water vehicles, which helped to evacuate roughly 300 people. Despite the dangers involved, soldiers did not hesitate to step up to join other efforts in helping those impacted by the storm in North Carolina or South Carolina.
In addition to this help, there were other reports of Army Reserve soldiers donating blood to help with Hurricane victims as well. The 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment is an Army Reserve based in Nashville, Tennessee, and soldiers from that unit visited a local American Red Cross on September 18th, and donated blood to help those involved in Hurricane Florence. While blood is needed year round, the need increases during natural disasters and this was one of those times where there was a heightened need for donated blood. The soldiers took time out of their day to help, eager to aid Florence victims in any way.
While Hurricane Florence has now drifted away from the Carolinas and filtered up the east coast and ultimately fallen apart, the after effects of this storm still remains. Parts of both North and South Carolina remain affected by power outages, lack of food, and extremely high flood waters - though the water is slowly beginning to recede. While there are some soldiers that have started to return back to their bases or homes, there are still many that remain, many that are staying to continue relief efforts until they are no longer needed. Some are working to bring large pallets of food and water to citizens of the affected areas as well.
While the Army continues their efforts, those at home can continue their efforts as well. Look into donating to causes aiding those affected, but do be careful when looking into causes and try to avoid falling into any scams. In addition to this, grocery stores and malls in various areas as well as schools are holding donation drives, allowing civilians to donate supplies such as food or water or hygiene products and so on. Once enough is donated, the products will be loaded onto trucks or army vehicles and sent to the affected parts of North Carolina and South Carolina. Please, if possible, do not hesitate to get involved.
To our friends in North and South Carolina, we all stand with you during this difficult time.