Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky National Guard Relief Effort Continues To Push Historic Relief Effort

Press Release Date:  Monday, February 02, 2009  
Contact Information:  David Altom
Public Affairs Officer, Kentucky Department of Military Affairs

There are now more than 4,000 Kentucky National Guard troops on duty, with nearly 3,700 Army Guard Soldiers and 320 Air Guard members. There are currently more than 800 Kentucky Guard members deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.

"This is indeed a monumental effort," said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky. "Never before have we mobilized so many troops for such an important cause. From Hazard to Paducah, Kentucky has been dealt a major blow with this winter storm and it caught a lot of people unprepared. Indeed, the very safety and welfare of our fellow Kentuckians is at stake and we will be here until the end."

Maj. Gen. Tonini cited the example of two Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard who, along with local authorities, are credited with saving an elderly couple from carbon monoxide poisoning during the a door-to-door wellness check in Breckenridge County.

"This incident alone emphasizes the importance of what we are doing," said Tonini. "This was just one family out of thousands more. There is still a lot of work to be done."

The couple were treated at a local hospital and released.

Other states have joined Kentucky in the winter storm relief effort. Members of the West Virginia National Guard are sending 50 engineers and their equipment to assist in debris removal. The Florida National Guard contributed a communications unit and several truckloads of equipment to help state and local official bridge communications shortfalls in West Kentucky. The Florida Guard team joined Kentucky Guard communications experts to establish operations in 10 locations throughout western Kentucky.

Out of state resources also include 180 humvees on loan from Guard units in Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 ferried more than 100 troops to Rickenbacker Air Force Base near Columbus to receive Ohio's portion of the vehicles.

The bulk of the Guard's mission has moved west of I-75, with an emphasis on Benton, Leitchfield, Greenville, Madisonville, Paducah, and communities in between. There is a continued priority on assisting in the restoration of electric power to water plants, communications facilities and homes. Troops are currently clearing routes for emergency response vehicles as well as helping utility crews gain access to damaged power transmission lines.

Guard members also continue to assist local civilian authorities with wellness checks. At this time 71 of Kentucky's 120 counties have been cleared or do not require assistance.

Establishment of shelters and points of distribution for essential supplies are also prime missions for Guard Soldiers and Airmen. The Armed Forces Readiness Center in Paducah has been transformed into a way-station for equipment and supplies brought in by FEMA.

For more information on the Kentucky National Guard and the Department of Military Affairs, visit: