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NEWS | Dec. 29, 2021

Key Leaders visit troops in western Kentucky

By Andy Dickson, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Several leaders from Kentucky National Guard took time to visit the Soldiers who are continuing work in western Kentucky after the holidays Dec. 28.

The Soldiers of the 1123rd Sapper Company and the 223rd Military Police Company continue to conduct health and welfare checks at homes that are just getting electricity as well as manning traffic control points in downtown Mayfield, Ky., while contractors conduct clean up.

Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler and Brig. Gen. Steven King, along with Chaplain (Col.) Bill Draper and Col. Joseph Gardner, visited troops to conduct moral checks and see if any additional resources are needed.

Soldiers were also given a two-day break for the Christmas holiday while local authorities provided passing patrols. Local authorities and Kentucky Guard leadership coordinated the break together to make sure everyone was given time to be with their families.

Immediately after, Soldiers were back on duty.

“Soldiers have volunteered to come back after the two-day Christmas break,” said Capt. Harrison Bailey, the Western Kentucky Storm Response Task Force Commander. “Many of these Soldiers have been in Graves County since the 11th or 12th of December and continue to be humbled by the outpouring of support from the Mayfield community. Our Soldiers are committed to the Western Kentucky Storm Response mission and will continue to provide support when and where possible.”

Soldiers are still needed by law enforcement to provide traffic control so debris can be removed from downtown Mayfield. Traffic control is also needed on one-lane roads in which dump trucks and electric line crews are still working.

Door-to-door health and welfare checks are still being conducted to make sure those without power are seeing support.

“My guys have been flexible and ready to take any mission that is necessary,” said Sgt. Ryan Aud, a squad leader with the 1123rd Sapper company. “Every day has given us a new mission whether it is a distribution center or health and welfare. We just get in and do as much as we can.”

While on the ground, Chaplain Draper met with Soldiers to make sure they had enough time with family and that their leadership was taking care of their needs.

When Brig. Gen. King asked Draper if their spirits were high, Draper nodded.

“They seem to be in good spirits,” said Draper. “They have good NCOs.”

King replied, “Yes, they have good leadership on the ground.”

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