MAYFIELD, Ky. –
Over 300 Kentucky Air and Army National Guardsmen have been activated in support of tornado relief in various locations to include Mayfield and Dawson Springs, Ky. on December 11th, 2021.
Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing’s Search and Rescue Team, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP), and the 438th Military Police Company have mobilized to the region for search and rescue missions, road clearing and law enforcement support.
“This is the most devastating, most deadly tornado event in Kentucky’s history,” said Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear in a news conference Saturday afternoon.
Beshear said that at least 70 people are feared dead because of the storm and it was the "most severe tornado event in Kentucky's history." Mayfield, Ky. has been affected most severely.
Beshear declared a state of emergency Friday, and every resource is being deployed, he said. The National Guard is being positioned to search for survivors in multiple counties.
More than 240 guardsmen from the National Guard have already been activated since early Sunday, Dec 12th.
“The National Guard is here to support in any way that we can and we have worked alongside multiple fire departments and police departments. Everyone has been working together during this dark time,” said Spc. Jonah Crockett, from the 301st Chemical Battalion.
Crockett is part of the Kentucky National Guard’s CERFP team working together with the community of Mayfield, Kentucky for disaster relief.
The CERFP has the experience and equipment to provide a full spectrum of disaster-response and recovery operations, from medical evacuations to explosive ordnance disposal
The Guard is providing military assistance and disaster-relief, rescue and recovery capabilities as directed by the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to help Mayfield and surrounding counties.
The Guard has brought many special capabilities and resources such as: Special Tactics pararescue, contingency response, Critical Care Air Transport Teams, a Fatality Search and Recovery Team, and a CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package.
“We have been here since 8 a.m. this morning. We started looking through fallen houses downtown and then moved over here to the candle factory to help with search and rescue,” said Captain Safety Officer Tiffany Newcomb, Salem Fire Department.
“The National Guard has brought dogs and rescue teams and they have jumped in and helped in any way they can. Several guard members are downtown as well cutting trees and clearing roads just doing what has to be done,” said Newcomb.
“We want to make sure everybody is being safe with all of the downed power lines and trees. Another job has just been getting people in and out of the area that are coming to help,” said Sgt. Justin Sims, 438th MP.
“Many of the roads are blocked off and so MP’s have helped secure the roads and let authorized personnel in so they can continue the mission,” said Sims.
“There are so many Fire Departments here from Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Hendersonville, Mayfield, Salem and there are just so many volunteers I don’t want to leave anybody out,” said Newcomb. “But everyone has been working tirelessly to try and help this community.
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that an emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal assistance to supplement the Commonwealth.
“The Guard has been working alongside Fire, police, and other emergency response teams and we are truly coming together to help Mayfield and this state during this unfortunate time,” said Sims.
The ongoing search and rescue mission is still being carried out by first responders and the National Guard.
Please help out our first responders by staying off the road in the areas affected, please give blood, and if you want to donate, go to: https://secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/Finance/WKYRelief
Local Volunteers please call 211.