MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
First of all I would like to tell you how grateful I am to be able to serve in such an outstanding organization made up of the best Airmen, second to none. Although I have served in various positions throughout my career, I am currently assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters as the A4 (logistics) Superintendent. My primary responsibility is developing and implementing our assets and capabilities into our state mission.
Over the last 24 months, the State Emergency Management Division (EMD) that operates out of State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has had several exercises much like our former Operational Readiness Inspections (ORI) and Operational Readiness Exercises (ORE) inspections. The purpose is to develop plans and be prepared for natural or manmade disasters and the National Guard is an integral part of this planning.
As you probably know, the SCANG has both a federal and a state mission. We are all very aware of our federal mission and we come to drill and annual training to prepare for it. As past experience has proven, it is inevitable that disasters will strike our state. The question is not "if" but "when" the next flood, ice storm, hurricane or even an earthquake will happen. It is during these times that our state mission will begin. This does not exclude our active-duty counterparts. During actual events, all military components can expect to be involved.
Why am I talking about this? The beginning of hurricane season begins June 1st and will last until November 30th. In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo devastated South Carolina; August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast; October 2012, Hurricane Sandy came ashore in New Jersey; and historical flooding throughout South Carolina in October 2015, during Hurricane Joaquin, just to name a few. During all of these events, the National Guard was called upon and made a significant difference and impact to the communities in which we serve.
We have to do our part to be ready to assist during these events. Just like our federal mission, we have to be mentally, physically and medically fit to be put on State Active Duty (SAD). We could be recalled, processed and deployed to different parts of the state or neighboring states. Our mission could be anything from providing security details to providing much needed support at distributions centers.
So are you ready? Are you taking care of your family now so that you will be available to perform your state mission? Do you have a plan for food, water, first aid and other essential items, not "if" but "when" the time comes? There are several great websites out there that have checklists, tips and "how to" instructions on preparing for disasters or Google search, "family preparedness plans".
A few example are:
1. Does your spouse know they have approximately 30-50 gallons of drinking water in your hot water heater should you lose water pressure for a few days and are isolated from help? (Of course they would need to know how to cut off the incoming water, turn off the breaker or gas to keep from damaging the unit, and connect the garden hoses to get the water.)
So in closing, I challenge you to take a look at your home and family and ask yourself; Am I ready? Have I prepared my family to take care of themselves so that I can perform my state mission as I would if I were deploying to perform my federal mission? Our country, state, communities and families are counting on us. I know each of you will be ready when the call comes. It's the Swamp Fox way!
2. One of the newer items out in the last few years are inflatable solar lanterns. They can be purchased for about $15 and provide a great source of light for several hours and all you do is set them by a window during the day to recharge.