Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher directs alert of Kentucky National Guard in anticipation of hurricane relief effort
FRANKFORT, KY - Governor Ernie Fletcher today ordered the statewide alert of the Kentucky National Guard in anticipation of relief efforts as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
“We must take a proactive stance in dealing with matters of such potential dire consequences,” Governor Fletcher said. “By all accounts, Hurricane Katrina is a storm of historic proportions, and we will take every precaution to ensure the basic human needs of those in her path. As commander-in-chief of the Kentucky National Guard, I have full confidence in their ability to accomplish this mission.”
As a result of this alert, Major General Donald C. Storm, Adjutant General for Kentucky, has canceled all leaves for military personnel and ordered an assessment of manpower and equipment appropriate for emergency relief missions.
“While the first priority of the Kentucky National Guard is the defense of our nation, we are committed to supporting the folks here at home as well,” said Maj. Gen. Storm. “We have nearly 6,000 men and women ready to come to the aid of our fellow Kentuckians, and we are prepared to support our neighbors in other states as well. This is not the first time Kentucky’s sons and daughters have been called upon to fight such disasters, and we are ready to answer the call when we’re needed.”
Although no request has yet come from other states, it is the practice of the National Guard to share resources whenever needed. Noted emergencies that Kentucky National Guard troops have responded – both within and outside of the state – include:
- More than 1,600 soldiers and airmen across the commonwealth during the Flood of 1997;
- Approximately 150 soldiers supported Lexington and central Kentucky during the ice storm in 2003;
- 200 engineers came to the aid of the citizens of Wheeling, West Virginia during last year’s flooding; and
- Army Guard aviation support (with Blackhawk helicopters) support Florida in response to Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Of the approximately 7,500 soldiers and airmen of the Kentucky National Guard, there are currently more than 1,600 mobilized in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle -- 1,422 of those soldiers are currently fighting in Iraq. More than 7,200 Kentucky Guard troops have been mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001.
Also in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, last Friday, Kentucky Emergency Management sent area managers Larry Dixon and Rick Cox to Tallahassee to assist Florida officials under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
For more information contact: David Altom at 502-607-1562 or (cell) 502-330-3535.