NY National Guard assists in storm response
By Eric Durr, New York National Guard
/ Published August 14, 2020
CARMEL VALLEY, N.Y. -- New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen delivered water, ice and dry ice to Putnam County residents and removed debris in Queens from August 6-8 after Tropical Storm Isaias moved through New York on August 4, 2020.
With 703,191 utility customers without power the morning after the storm on August 5, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared an emergency in Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester.
As part of the state response the governor directed Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York, to mobilize and deploy 50 Soldiers and Airmen to assist Putnam County officials.
Another 27 Soldiers and Airmen from Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the security augmentation force in New York City, were directed to assist in clearing debris in Queens County.
Over the course of the mission the team in Putnam County delivered 28,800 bottles of water, 630 bags of dry ice, and 260 bags of ice.
The 53rd Troop Command mobilized 20 Soldiers, while the 105th Airlift Wing mobilized 30 Airmen to support the mission and another 10 Airmen to handle headquarters functions.
The personnel were divided into two strike teams and dispatched to link up with Putnam County emergency management officials on Thursday, August 6.
One team conducted five traffic control missions in Putnam Valley. They set up control points on Peekskill Hollow Road, Drewville Road and Church Road. Another team worked on Route 6 in Mahopec.
The second team conducted four delivery missions. They delivered water, ice and dry ice to several locations. They delivered 16,800 bottles of water, 350 bags of dry ice and 150 bags of ice.
On August 7 the only missions were for water and ice delivery so the 20 Soldiers from the 53rd Troop Command’s 101st Expeditionary Signal Brigade came off the mission.
Thirty Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing delivered an additional 12,000 bottles of water, 280 bags of dry ice and 110 bags of ice to three community locations on August 7th.
Joint Task Force Empire Shield’s debris clearance team, meanwhile, drew 20 chain saws and began cutting up and removing debris throughout Queens.
Local residents would report information on downed trees to the city’s 311 number and the city parks department would direct the Soldiers and Airmen to the location, said 2nd Lt. Peter Morel, a member of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, who served as officer in charge of the mission.
In same instances it would be small tree down across a drive way, Morel said. In other cases the team had to remove big trees down across several lanes of road or several cars, he added.
While the Putnam County mission wrapped up on August 8, the debris clearance mission lasted until August 11, Morel said.
They worked from 7 in the morning to 7 at night and conducted 206 missions during that period, he said.