By Capt. Jessica Donnelly | South Carolina National GuardSeptember 5, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- As South Carolina prepares for the impact of Hurricane Dorian, the South Carolina National Guard is staged and ready to respond in support of civilian authorities in the aftermath of the storm along the coastal area of the state, Sept. 5.
The South Carolina National Guard has more than 1,600 Soldiers and Airmen activated in response to the storm and will continue to support civilian authorities, explained U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the adjutant general for South Carolina.
He added, there are high-water vehicles staged to be distributed to affected areas to help with evacuations after the storm, debris removal teams are prepared to help clear roadways and assist first responders, and aviation assets are available to provide personnel and supply transportation or search and rescue.
"We are prepared for whatever the next phase of the operation brings us," said McCarty.
Before the storm's impact to the state, the South Carolina National Guard worked in support of South Carolina Departments of Transportation and Public Safety to assist with evacuation efforts, as well as provided Military Police assets to support law enforcement officers with security missions in the evacuated areas.
"Evacuation is such an important part of this process because we're trying to get hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of people out of harm's way and we could not achieve our mission without the South Carolina National Guard," said Dir. Leroy Smith, South Carolina Department of Public Safety director.
As the storm moves past the state, the mission of the South Carolina National Guard transitions based on the needs of the affected communities. McCarty explained, in the past, the volume of water has created the most significant threat with hazards on the roads, flooding to homes and businesses, and even injury and loss of life.
"We have brought four [light medium tactical vehicles] to support the mission of high-water rescue post-hurricane, and assisting local authorities recovering and rescuing anybody," said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. James, 1-118th Infantry Battalion platoon leader.
In response to Hurricane Dorian, the South Carolina National Guard is capable of supporting civilian agencies with multiple assets to include evacuation assistance, manning traffic control points, supply and sandbag transportation, water purification, security support, critical infrastructure protection, high-water vehicle transportation and evacuation, search and rescue, communication support, debris clearing, and more for as long as needed.
"Thank you for being willing to support this state in this emergency. I want to thank you and your families for coming out and doing what your job is all about," said McCarty. "I also want to thank our employers for allowing you to be available to assist in this operation."