Delaware National Guard in place for snow response

 (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brendan Mackie, 101st Public Affairs Detachment.)

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brendan Mackie, 101st Public Affairs Detachment.)

Every part of the state is expected to be impacted by the approaching snowstorm, that’s why the Delaware National Guard is spreading out to respond.

About 125 soldiers and airmen in the Delaware National Guard will be prepositioned throughout the state, ready to help out in whatever way is needed. 

“Our basic mission is to get Delawareans to safety,” Lt. Col. Len Gratteri of the Delaware National Guard said. “If you’re stuck in a snowstorm and your electric is out, we have vehicles that can go through the snow and help you get out of there.” 

Gratteri said the Guard will coordinate their response with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. They will also be available to transport police, first responders and even medical workers headed to hospitals. 

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To start, Guard vehicles and personnel will be stationed at the Wilmington Readiness Center, the Smyrna Readiness Center, the Georgetown Armory and the main National Guard Armory on Newport Gap Pike. 

While Delaware doesn’t often provide heavy snow conditions for Guard members to train in, Gratteri said their personnel are experienced in driving in wintry conditions.

“A lot of our soldiers were in the 1049th Transportation Company, and they were deployed to Afghanistan, so they have a lot of experience driving in the mountainous areas in the snow,” Gratteri explained. “The training wasn’t coordinated in Delaware, they got it from being deployed.” 

Governor Jack Markell warned state residents to prepare for the storm and avoid traveling Friday night and Saturday. “This looks like a serious storm and I hope Delawareans are treating it that way,” Markell said.  “I encourage Delawareans to take precautions and stay tuned to weather forecasts and transportation updates as we go through the weekend.”

Markell said it is likely that a state of emergency will be issued this weekend and driving restrictions will most definitely be put in place as well.

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