Well-Yankee Bill’s NY Guard unit was activated by the governor to help with Hurricane Sandy Cleanup:
You see Yankee Bill really missed the military after he retired. He joined the NY Guard quite a few years back. The NY Guard is NOT the same thing as the National Guard. It’s a completely volunteer organization (read that as “my husband works a lot for free”) that falls under the governor of the state of NY. So it’s basically a state militia–but without guns. He has meetings a couple times a month, does drill several weekends a year and usually spends a week at annual training in the summer.
Many of the NY Guard units seem more, uh, ceremonial than anything else, but his unit is an engineer unit-and they do a lot of construction type projects. Over the years they have built training structures for the New York National Guard (like a simulated walled compound), built a pole barn roof over the snipper range at Ft. Drum, done demolition work at Camp Smith and much more. They are a great asset for the state as they get some really major projects done for just the cost of materials/equipment and a few meals. It’s free skilled labor. Bill has loved it because he knows that the projects he is doing are helping support the soldiers on active duty.
Since the NY Guard is the governor’s asset, he has the option of bringing them on active duty in a time of need (and pay them as such)–but they can not be deployed outside of the state. The unit was called up during 9-11 to help provide security and support at several bases, and after Hurricane Irene a few folks spent a week training the National Guard on how to use chainsaws–but this is the first big deployment opportunity since Yankee Bill joined.
They had given warning late last week-but a call came Halloween night that he needed to be at the Armory and ready to hit the road at 5am the next day. By lunchtime on the 1st he was already at Bedford Hills NY ready to help support the power company by clearing trees.
The picture in this post was taken today–can you see how huge the trees are and how little the people look? See how they’ve taken down the power lines? And what looks like the forest floor there with all the pine needles and tree branches–well, that’s the road! The Fire Department that they have the guys & gals billeted at is one of the few places in town that has power. He is going to be very very busy for several weeks there!
Although I already miss him–I know he’s more than happy to be able to go out there and help in some way. We were just so lucky here to avoid all of that damage. I have no idea when he’s coming home–they haven’t given them an end date–but I figure “oh well, at least no one is shooting at him”.