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National Guard soldiers from Mattoon unit to assist with Hurricane Ida relief efforts

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MATTOON — Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated approximately 160 members of the Illinois Army National Guard, including approximately 45 from the Mattoon unit, on Sunday in support of Hurricane Ida relief efforts.

“As states across the nation recover from the damage of Hurricane Ida and the continued impacts of climate change, the State of Illinois stands ready to help,” Pritzker said in a press release. “Illinois’ brave members of the National Guard are exceptional at everything they do and will work alongside local rescue teams to support impacted residents and communities.”

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Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the commander of the Illinois National Guard, said their thoughts are with their fellow American affected by Ida, which hit Louisiana with historic force exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina.

“We are proud of our soldiers and airmen as they prepare to respond, much like the Illinois National Guard did 16 years ago for Hurricane Katrina. We are also thankful for their service and for the support of their families and employers," Neely said.

The Louisiana Army National Guard requested assistance through an approved Emergency Management Assistance Compact for manpower and equipment to assist with commodities distribution, general search and rescue, storm debris removal and route clearance, and general security and curfew enforcement.

Early Wednesday morning, two volunteers from the Decatur Red Cross Chapter prepared their emergency response vehicle for the drive down to Louisiana to help communities affected by Hurricane Ida.

The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Urbana, has been tasked with providing approximately 45 soldiers from Company A, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Mattoon, to provide commodities transport via military flat-rack vehicles. The 634th BSB will also provide an officer and noncommissioned officer as a command team, plus two combat medics.

The 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, with headquarters in Normal, will provide approximately 98 soldiers from the 661st Engineer Company (Horizontal), based in Macomb, for potential debris removal and route clearance missions.

Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861.


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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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