One role that makes the National Guard unique from any other branch of the military is its mission to provide relief during times of state or national emergency. Whenever a natural disaster occurs, the National Guard’s relief units are rapidly on the scene in the wake of the storm.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Southeast United States with devastating force, National Guard units were among the first on the scene to provide food, water, and other vital supplies to victims. Guardsmen also assisted in setting up shelters for those whose homes were destroyed.
Many National Guard units were also involved in search and rescue operations. Using primarily helicopters to rescue stranded civilians, these soldiers saved a countless number of lives from the flooding waters in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi.
The National Guard’s response to Katrina was a historical feat in the history of the Guard. Over 50,000 National Guardsmen and women were deployed throughout the South to organize relief efforts.
Another great example of the National Guard’s efficiency and compassion during times of emergency is the Haiti earthquake that took place in January, 2010. Within hours, a number of National Guard units were already being mobilized to establish and coordinate international relief efforts.
As a National Guardsman or woman, you may be called upon to defend your country from foreign aggressors, but you also have the opportunity to help people when they need it the most.