By B.A. Little, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org
ALABAMA — On Friday, Governor Kay Ivey gave authorization to Adjutant Major General Sheryl Gordon, with the Alabama National Guard, to activate up to 100 guardsmen, if needed, to combat COVID-19.
While the National Guard is often called out by governors to respond to natural and man-made disasters, Guard members also have a long history of responding to public health emergencies.
In talking to a local Jackson County, Alabama National Guardsman, he stated, “The National Guard is made up of our communities and our neighbors. We are prepared to step away from our families and civilian lives to support and protect our communities and country. The National Guard has the training and resources to make a real impact in this disaster. This is a time when we have to live up to our motto of “Always there, always ready”.
The Alabama National Guard issued this statement, “The Alabama National Guard is your community support and defense force. We live, work, and play in every ZIP code in this state; we are your friends and neighbors and are very much in this with you. We are here, we are strong, and we are prepared to assist in the fight against COVID-19 if needed. We stand with you, and, together, we will win as we always have.”
Additionally, Maj. Gen. Sheryl E. Gordon, The Adjutant General, Alabama National Guard, issued the following:
The State of Alabama currently faces an unprecedented challenge in the form of the coronavirus outbreak, and its impact on nearly every level of daily life. The Alabama National Guard must remain ready to respond to the needs of the State of Alabama and the United States while ensuring the health of the force during the COVID-19 outbreak.
I feel that it is important for the local communities to see our Guardsmen at our armories and facilities ready to meet the needs of the citizens of Alabama when called. At times we must take necessary risks to serve others, our neighbors, our state, and our nation. As we move forward, I anticipate a need for the Alabama National Guard in areas such as logistics support and additional emergency management support. This situation is ever-evolving, and the Alabama National Guard may be needed to fulfill other roles as well.
My number one priority is taking care of our Soldiers, Airmen, civilian employees, and their families because the readiness of our force will be critical to any state or national COVID-19 response efforts. Sick or quarantined personnel have the potential to severely impact readiness and our ability to respond when called.
Alabama National Guard leadership has empowered unit commanders to utilize the concepts of mission command and risk management to make decisions regarding training, IDT, and annual training events in order to balance force health protection while maintaining the ability to respond to operational needs. In addition, many of our federal and state employees will be asked to adjust work areas, work from home, perform shift work or, in some cases, take paid administrative leave to support social distancing and stem the spread of the disease.
We are taking these precautions to preserve the health of our service members, our employees, and our families. We care about your physical, emotional and spiritual health and resilience - and there is an operational need to keep you healthy! We need you to BE READY.
We are all truly in this together, and together we will see this through!
The Alabama National Guard is ready when called.