Alaska National Guard asks western communities to submit assistance requests to State Emergency Operational Center

Inside the Gates
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 4:05 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It has been decades since the Alaska National Guard had a mobilization like Mission Merbok.

“It was the largest off-road response in many decades,” Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe said.

According to Saxe, the guard mobilized over 170 military personnel on Sep. 21, with boots hitting the ground just days after Typhoon Merbok left many western communities struggling. In total, they were able to assist 31 communities in the west.

“We did a lot of debris cleanup. Separated all the burned wood and good fire wood for their houses. Me and my team rebuilt the deck of the community hall,” Sgt. Dempsey Woods said.

In total, the guard repaired 77 homes and moved 30,000 pounds of supplies.

But these recovery efforts were more then just a physical effort.

“We are actually helping with the individual assistance forms. We have many troops that are bilingual, and that is coming in very handy,” Saxe said.

In a statement the Alaska National Guard said, “While the initial recovery phase of the response has largely come to an end and Guard service members have returned home, the next phase will likely take longer depending on the community and level of damage.”

The guard is asking that all residents who have feedback or are in need of specific assistance to send their request to the State Emergency Operational Center by email or by calling 907-428-7100.

“We want to get the feedback from the communities as to what we can do as to helping the communities and what we can do better in future,” Saxe said.