Since Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast last week, the Oklahoma National Guard has been busy providing our neighboring state with the relief it desperately needs. As a result of the request from Texas, the National Guard sent help by providing manpower within two days.
Adjutant General Lewis Wilham says the original task was to provide 2000 soldiers but only ended up needing to send half.
“We've got two task forces down there,” AG Wilham said, “each of about 500 soldiers. One in the Beaumont area and one in the area closer to Corpus Christi. And again, those are providing what we call point of distribution pod sites.”
The National Guard needs to be prepared at all times to send soldiers to surrounding states in case of disaster. The Joint Operations Center gives them the ability to communicate with Texas on what specific resources are needed.
"This is a scalable operation," said Joint Task Force Air Component Commander Colonel Bradley White. "Our department head is here to be able to provide their specialties, make our capabilities to respond primarily for the citizens of Oklahoma, but also answer those needs and agreements for the needs that go beyond state lines."
Since 1,000 Oklahoma National Guardsmen are in Texas, the Joint Operations Center is also responsible for monitoring our soldiers.
"(D)own to the single airman and soldier," said Col. White, "we maintain constant accountability of our troops."
While relief efforts are still underway in Texas, the Oklahoma National Guard is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma as well.