Governor activates entire Texas National Guard in response to Harvey
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday activated the state’s entire National Guard in response to Hurricane Harvey, pushing the total deployment to 12,000.
“It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of people across the state of Texas as we continue to face the aftermath of this storm,” Abbott said in a statement.
“The Texas National Guard is working closely with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and federal troops to respond urgently to the growing needs of Texans who have fallen victim to Hurricane Harvey, and the activation of the entire Guard will assist in the efforts already underway.”
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning said Monday that National Guard units from across the country will provide cargo aircraft, helicopters and other resources to help with rescue and recovery efforts.
Active duty units were also on the way to staging areas to prepare for a formal request for help.
The activation follows a steady stream of federal aid to Louisiana and Texas following the Category 4 storm, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. President Trump issued a disaster proclamation on Friday night that made federal assistance available for emergency aid to both states, which are declared emergencies.
Abbott had originally deployed 700 members of the Texas National Guard, Texas State Guard and Air National Guard in preparation for the storm on Friday.
On Saturday, the Texas National Guard began search and rescue operations, and up to 1,700 members were made available for activation.
The Defense Department has sent a search and rescue team to Fort Worth with nine helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft and pararescue teams, Manning told reporters at the Pentagon.
In addition, 16 aircraft and personnel are “conducting day and night wide area search and rescue missions along the Texas coast from Corpus Christi to Houston,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Out-of-state guard units are also helping in the rescue and recovery efforts. The New York Air National Guard gave six aircraft; the Utah, Nebraska and North Carolina Army National Guards provided six helicopters; and the U.S. Coast Guard and Air National Guard gave seven helicopters, the Pentagon said.
FEMA, meanwhile, said federal agencies have more than 5,000 employees helping in the state.
“U.S. Northern Command is poised to provide Department of Defense support to FEMA, state and local response efforts,” the Pentagon statement notes.