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National Guard Wraps Up Joplin Relief Effort

Image by Missouri National Guard Photo

National Guard Wraps Up Joplin Relief Effort

By Mike Morgan. CREATED Jan 17, 2013

From An Edited Press Release

JOPLIN, Mo. - Some 20 months after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's initial call up, the Missouri National Guard is winding down operations in Joplin following the devastating tornado that hit the town on May 22, 2011. Currently, one Citizen-Soldier remains as part of the state's Workforce Investment Board.

The night the tornado struck, members of Joplin's 203rd Engineer Battalion and supporting companies worked at search and rescue in the central disaster zone. Within days, military police, infantry Soldiers and aviation units joined in the state emergency duty.

At the height of the response, the Missouri Guard mobilized 377 personnel who worked at traffic control checkpoints and roving security patrols, in addition to assisting with transport and establishment of a Mobile Medical Unit for use by the staff of St. John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin.

Not long after, the mission took a different direction as Nixon tasked the Missouri National Guard with providing state oversight for the federal debris removal program in Joplin and nearby Duquesne. The Guard provided 45 personnel and developed debris clearance tracking mechanisms, liaised with municipal, state and federal partners, and resolved various property issues, resulting in a highly successful rapid removal process as part of a mission known as Task Force Phoenix.

This effort continued in 2012, with the Missouri Guard assisting the Department of Workforce Development with the Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program for Jasper and Newton Counties, creating jobs to aid in the cleanup of public areas and restoration as a result of the disaster. Jobs included debris removal and restoration of public facilities and rights-of-way. More than 1500 civilians have been temporarily employed through the program with Guardsmen supervising and guiding the progress.