State defense forces called into action following remnants of Merbok

State defense forces called into action following remnants of Merbok
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 2:42 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Members of Joint Task Force Alaska have been called into action to assist residents with the next stage of recovery from the destruction caused by the remnants of Typhoon Merbok.

The task force is composed of more than 120 members of Alaska’s Air and Army National Guards, Alaska Naval Militia, and the State Defense Force.

Following the disaster declaration made by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Saturday, task force units sprung into action to prepare and pack supplies.

On Wednesday, HC-130 transport planes completed two round-trip flights from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson to Nome, where equipment and personnel are staging before relocating to other villages as part of Operation Merbok Response.

Teams were also sent out to Golovin and Hooper Bay later in the day.

Some members of the task force did not have to wait for deployment from Anchorage, as they were already in the villages that were battered by the storm.

About 20 of the responding servicemembers are residents of the coast and were immediately able to assist their communities with damage assessments and planning. The firsthand local knowledge provided to the task for by

For those local service members, who are mostly members of the Alaska State Defense Force, being called to help their own friends and neighbors is an honor.

“The experience for them is challenging yet rewarding at the same time,” said Lt. Col. Matt Kirby, of the Alaska Air National Guard.

The teams are under the direction of the Alaska State Emergency Operations Center, which fields requests for assistance from communities and positions.

Remarkably, there have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries from the storm.