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Hurricane Dennis News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 14, 2005
Contact:  ESF 14, Public Information, (850) 921-0384

Florida National Guard Begins Removing Personnel
from State Active Duty

PENSACOLA- The Florida National Guard will begin a controlled adjustment of Soldiers and Airmen assisting in post-hurricane relief efforts in Northwest Florida officials announced today.

Brigadier General Stephen Villacorta, commander of Task Force 164, said the National Guard is "transitioning" the missions to civilian agencies in areas impacted by Hurricane Dennis.

General Villacorta said over the previous three days, he and his staff have been talking to county officials to determine when volunteers could assume responsibilities at the point of distribution sites.

During the height of operations in the State's most western counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa, 933 Florida Guardsmen were on duty. As conditions began to normalize and power was restored, the Guard's presence began to adjust for efficiency.

According to General Villacorta, the National Guard's goal is to turn over all missions on Thursday and "remove our forces by Friday."

Since the category three hurricane came ashore on Sunday, the Soldiers and Airmen from the National Guard provided search and rescue, ice and water to victims of the storm. The National Guard also provided logistics support, debris removal, presence patrols, and traffic control points in the impacted counties.

General Villacorta was complimentary of the troop's attitudes and attributed the Guard's success to the experiences of the Soldiers on the ground who served in not only last year's hurricane relief, but Afghanistan as well. Also, many of these Soldiers and Airmen are veterans of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

For additional information on Florida’s hurricane recovery, please visit http://www.floridadisaster.org.

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Last updated: November 09, 2007

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