The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 12, 2013

Local soldiers help with blizzard relief

Randy Griffith
rgriffith@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — National Guard members from Johnstown are helping New Englanders dig out from the weekend blizzard there.

Twenty-eight members of Pennsylvania Army National Guard 252nd Engineer Company of 565 Walters Ave. boarded a C-130 military transport plane Tuesday morning for a flight to Connecticut.

They will join about 62 other state Guard members to help with snow removal and other relief in communities digging out from several feet of snow.

“Snowplows are not able to move it,” Guard spokesman Staff Sgt. Matt Jones said. “They need the heavy equipment.”

In addition to the snow removal, Guard members will help with emergency transportation, checking on isolated residents, Jones said. The mission is expected to last about a week.

One of Connecticut Army National Guard’s engineering companies is currently deployed, with its equipment, to the island nation of Bahrain near Saudi Arabia.

“That is 120 troops and a lot of equipment that are not available,” Connecticut Guard spokesman Col. John Whitford said.  “We appreciate the support from the Pennsylvania Guard.”

Johnstown’s soldiers joined with members of Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 201st Engineers from Fort Indiantown Gap. The 201st unit brought 25 pieces of heavy equipment to Connecticut.

Both units have previously supported recovery efforts during winter storms and flooding in Pennsylvania. They have also deployed overseas to support multiple combat operations in recent years.

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