MARIETTA, Ga. – Hundreds of members of the Georgia National Guard assembled at hometown armories and bases across the state Sept. 1 and headed to Louisiana to assist with Hurricane Ida relief.
The Georgia National Guard units departed 16 years to the day after mobilizing to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They will join some 8,000 National Guard members from more than a dozen states who are assisting state and local authorities in Louisiana following the powerful storm.
Georgia Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen have a wealth of experience in hurricane response, having mobilized in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma, Michael and Dorian in recent years. Some Guardsmen are responding to their first hurricane, though some senior enlisted and officer ranks of the units participated in the Katrina response in 2005.
Among the veteran units responding is the 170th Military Police Battalion from units in Monroe, Decatur and Fort Stewart. These Soldiers provided crucial support to law enforcement and traffic flow operations following major storms. Many also served for more than a year as part of the state’s response to COVID-19.
In addition to the military police units, the Augusta-based 878th Engineer Battalion, with units in Toccoa, Atlanta and Douglasville, mobilized with heavy equipment capable of clearing roads of debris so power companies can reach and repair downed power lines. Like the 170th MP BN, the engineers have been tested in past hurricane responses and also are assisting in the state’s response to COVID-19. The 878th EN BN is assigned to the Columbus-based 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which has historically provided engineering, logistics and transportation capability to state and local agencies in the event of natural disasters.
The Marietta-based 78th Troop Command has dispatched transportation and logistics personnel of the 110th Combat Service Support Battalion’s 1148th Transportation Company. The 1148th is capable of large-scale distribution of humanitarian supplies, fuel and logistics packages.
The Georgia Air National Guard has mobilized Civil Engineers and Security Forces Airmen of the Warner Robins-based 116th Air Control Wing and 165th Airlift Wing based in Savannah. During past hurricanes, these Citizen-Airmen have rapidly deployed debris clearance teams and security specialists to hard-hit areas.
While these Georgia Army and Air National Guard units have diverse skills and come from across the state, they have two things in common: all have supported overseas combat operations and responded to natural disasters at home. The vast majority are traditional Guardsmen who have full-time civilian jobs and live and work in communities across the state.