As the nation marked the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, more than 2,500 Wisconsin National Guard troops began loading up into military trucks or aircraft, as they made their way to Florida to assist Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
Wisconsin Army and Air Guard members will continue deployments to Florida through Sept. 14. They will remain in the region as long as they are needed.
Multi-State National Guard Response
Across the National Guard, more than 15,500 citizen-soldiers from at least seven states are in place supporting relief efforts of Hurricane Irma throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina along with the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands. Another 4,500 guard members are in transit to hurricane-stricken areas.
The National Guard has been credited with evacuating more than 1,000 U.S. citizens from the Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Marten Sept. 9-10, by the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing, New York Air Guard's 106th Rescue Wing and the Puerto Rico Air Guard's 156th Airlift Wing.
"Among the first of those who responded to the attacks in New York City were members of the National Guard," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, Wisconsin's adjutant general. "Since that day, the National Guard has shown day after day that it is ready and capable of meeting our nation's needs at home and abroad. Today, as we help our fellow citizens in Florida recover from a natural disaster, is no different."
The Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Brigade Combat Team had been identified as one of the units nationwide available to assist in the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort in Texas. The Red Arrow brigade was redirected as Hurricane Irma approached Florida.