Alabama National Guard Creates State's First Winter Operations Plan

MONTGOMERY, AL (02/25/2015)(readMedia)-- MONTGOMERY, Alabama – February 25, 2015 – The Alabama National Guard is prepared to enact its newly adopted Winter Operations plan as icy storms threaten the state.

Gov. Robert Bentley and Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, the Adjutant General for the State of Alabama, tasked the National Guard's Domestic Operations Group with developing the plan after the ice and snow in January and February 2014 shut down parts of Alabama and other Southern states.

"Governor Bentley is well aware of the important role the Alabama National Guard plays in support of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency," Maj. Gen. Smith said. "The Guard is proud of its track record in coming to the state's aid following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural and man-made disasters. Although winter storms have been rare in Alabama, it was important the National Guard have a plan in place to better respond to the state's needs the next time."

That "next time" has arrived, as winter weather moves into Northern and Central Alabama. Forecasts call for icy rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Members of the National Guard's Domestic Operations Group and Mobility Support Teams are prepared to enact the new Winter Operations plan in support of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency in the potential affected areas of the state.

The Alabama National Guard had two activations during the winter storms last year and performed admirably to help those affected areas recover. However, lessons learned from those operations were used to create the new Winter Operations plan to allow for a better response.

"The Domestic Operations Group is made up of veterans of the most devastating weather events this state has suffered in the last 20 years," said Col. Jim Hawkins of the Domestic Operations Group. "We have spent the past few months developing the Alabama National Guard's current Winter Operations plan. We have a great plan, a great staff and the best Guard units in the country. We are ready to support our state during winter weather."