SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner has ordered Illinois National Guard soldiers to state active duty to augment local efforts to save lives and mitigate flood damage in southern Illinois.
Approximately 20 soldiers from the 2-130th Infantry Battalion, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team were ordered to report to the Illinois Army National Guard’s Marion Readiness Center early on New Year’s Day. In addition, an Illinois Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with hoist capability has been placed on standby. The helicopter and crew is part of B Co., 1-106th Aviation Battalion based out of the Illinois Army National Guard flight facility at Midway Airport in Chicago.
“Local communities continue to battle rising floodwaters and the state stands ready to assist as needed,” Rauner said. “Activating these Illinois National Guard Soldiers is a prudent step should they be needed at a moment’s notice by local communities as floodwaters are expected to continue to rise in some areas through the weekend.”
The Infantry soldiers will stand ready to assist local authorities in securing flooded areas and in checking on the health and welfare of local citizens. The helicopter and its four-soldier crew will help with evacuation efforts.
“Although this activation is precautionary at this point, I’m proud of the Illinois National Guard service members and their families who are so willing to assist their fellow citizens at any time,” said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr., adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. “These troops and their families live the National Guard motto of being Always Ready, Always There.”