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Story by: Warrant Officer Ubon Mendie - New York Guard, PAO
Dated: Mon, Jan 14, 2013
NEW YORK CITY, NY, Jan 14 - Three months after Super Storm Sandy, members of the New York Guard the state’s all volunteer defense force, continued to assist in hurricane relief missions.
The group was part of a crucial logistics team responsible for sustaining the ongoing response mission based at the New York Mets baseball home, Citi-Field.
"New York Guardsmen are responsible for all logistical support operations for the New York State Department of Homeland Security Sandy Mission," explained Col. George DeSimone, the commander of the New York Guard’s 88th Brigade.
"This is uncharted territory for our force and state civilian agencies. Until now, such a response has never been practiced or even thought to be needed," DeSimone added.
Upon activation, New York Guard members went to work assisting the New York National Guard in responding to New York City’s needs.
Maj. Peter Morici, a Brooklyn native, was charged with overseeing the task and worked as operations section chief for the Citi-Field unified command logistical staging area, a first in New York Guard history.
"Since October 30th we have been on the ground 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week," said Morici. "We’ve been tasked to keep the response going."
Morici and his team coordinate disaster equipment handling to include generators, light towers, fork lifts, cables and other heavy operating materials.
"We ensure state equipment is serviced and ready to be place anywhere it’s needed," said Sergeant 1st Class Carl Majors. "I’m from the city, so I have friends and family that depend on the equipment. It’s a major responsibility. We have to do this job right."
Initially there was no tracking system in place to account for the vast state owned and leased materials that were urgently needed in areas affected by the storm, Morici. said. The New York Guard members helped create one.
Without such a system, the state would be liable for lost equipment and damages, that may, or may not have occurred as a result of the mission, he explained.
We have millions of dollars of assets in the field," said George Gibson, DHSES Deputy Incident Commander for Citi-field operations. "I can’t begin to come up with a number of what our possible losses could have been without this system. Their work has truly kept us ahead."
Gibson also added that the New York Guard logistical system would be used in future DHSES response missions helping to ensure citizens receive the best possible assistance if another emergency were to occur.
"They give me peace of mind being here. They are 110 percent reliable and their expertise in security and logistical experience has helped tremendously,"said Thomas J. Barkowski, NYCOEM over night incident commander. "We are one unit.”
“The New York Guard will stand ready to serve the state, no matter the time length or incident," Majors added. "We train to respond, and we’re glad to help."