By Sgt. Brian Calhoun
South Carolina National Guard
HARLEYVILLE, S.C. (1/30/14) - As Winter Storm Leon was gearing up to blast the southeastern portion of the United States with snow and ice, members of the South Carolina National Guard at the Joint Operations Center (JOC) in West Columbia, S.C., kept a watchful eye on weather maps and began preparations to address potential impacts around the state.
The South Carolina troops were among about 780 National Guard members who responded in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina after governors declared states of emergency.
A closer look at the South Carolina response:
By mid-day Tuesday, Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency and the JOC, working in support of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), executed its first official request for support. The tasking was to launch four wrecker teams to be ready to assist the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Within hours, the individual wrecker teams were making final checks on equipment and getting prepared for around-the-clock operations. One wrecker team consists of eight Soldiers, one wrecker and two Humvees.
The teams moved to strategic locations throughout the state in Florence, North Charleston, Columbia and Orangeburg to support the South Carolina Highway Patrol in aiding motorists and keeping the roadways clear.
"Our teams were given radios by the highway patrol and were in direct communication with state troopers and monitored the situation throughout the night," said Maj. Andrew Newell, night battle captain of the JOC and officer in charge. More