National Guard mobilized to respond to Sandy; 200 soldiers activated in Southern Tier

Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced that he has mobilized 1,175 members of the National Guard to stand by at posts across the state to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. For the Catskills region, the deployment includes 200 soliders who will go on duty at armories in Binghamton, Walton and Horseheads tomorrow. Additional troops and supplies will be standing by at the Camp Smith Training Site north of Peekskill.

The mobilization is part of a statewide effort that includes soldiers in New York City and on Long Island. Here's the full press release with info:

Up to 1,175 Troops Will Respond in NYC, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Southern Tier

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the New York Army and Air National Guard to mobilize in response to Hurricane Sandy, and as a result, the Guard will deploy up to 1,175 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen. Troops are reporting to duty at their assignments starting today.

“Last year, the New York Army and Air National Guard played a significant role in our State’s immediate response to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” Governor Cuomo said. “They will provide vital assistance to various regions of the State, and it is essential that they are positioned to be ready to serve wherever they are called. These troops, along with critical equipment, vehicles and aircraft, are ready to answer at a moment’s notice.”

The Soldiers will be available to aid local authorities in responding to storm damage in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier. The New York National Guard has stocks of equipment set aside specifically for storms and is also prepared to deploy aircraft and satellite communications systems as needed. The following vehicles, aircraft and equipment are also available:

· The New York National Guard has more than 900 high axle trucks and Humvees which can negotiate flooded areas, as well as long-distance transportation assets and engineering equipment which can be used as necessary.

· The New York Army National Guard has 11 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, two UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters equipped with night vision equipment, and one CH-47 heavy lift helicopter available to respond.

· The New York Air National Guard has C-130 cargo aircraft ready to fly if required.

Today, 200 New York Army National Guard Soldiers will go on duty in New York City, operating from the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan and the Jamaica Armory in Queens. In addition, the headquarters for Joint Task Force Sandy, which includes assets from both the Army and Air Force and other services, will stand up at Camp Smith Training Site north of Peekskill.

Troops are also being deployed starting today to Long Island to respond to the storm. The New York Army National Guard will mobilize 50 Soldiers from Latham and 15 Soldiers from Auburn, who are assigned to the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn, to the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center to act as a response force in Suffolk County. Also today, the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing will have 50 Airmen on duty at the Gabreski Air National Guard Base to handle missions on eastern Long Island and provide National Guard liaison officers to work with emergency management officials in Suffolk and Nassau counties. By 6 p.m. on Monday, a total of 250 Soldiers will be assigned to the Center in Farmingdale and 150 Airmen assigned at the Gabreski Air National Guard Base.

Another 200 Soldiers, mainly from the New York Army National Guard's 204th Engineer Battalion will go on duty Monday at armories in Binghamton, Walton, and Horseheads to respond to incidents in the Southern Tier. The 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse will provide 50 Airmen who will also be in place Monday evening.

Statewide, another 150 Soldiers and Airmen, who will not be armed, will be mobilized to provide command and control and logistical support to the troops assisting state and local agencies.

If necessary, more troops can be called upon to respond to the storm. The New York Army and Air National Guard have a combined strength of 16,000 members. About 2,300 Army and Air National Guardsmen are currently deployed overseas. In addition, the State can also call on members of the New York Naval Militia. The 2,200-member force operates a fleet of patrol boats and can provide troops who are also members of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve. The 750-member New York Guard, the state's volunteer defense force, can provide volunteers to augment the New York National Guard when needed.

In August and September 2011, more than 4,400 members of the New York Army and Air National Guard responded when Tropical Storms Irene and Lee caused devastating flooding in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and Southern Tier.