The Winter Chronicle Local/State Saturday, January 26, 2013 A3

Storm Prompts Activation of Ohio National Guard

Thomas W. Schmidlin and

Jeanne Appelhans Schmidlin

Writers

piles of snow along a road
Much of the state was shut down for several days while Ohioans labored to clear roads, driveways, and sidewalks. The plowed drifts in this image from Marion county are more than twice the height of the car. (Photo courtesy of the Marion Historical Society)

Disaster Declared in Ohio

Thomas W. Schmidlin and

Jeanne Appelhans Schmidlin

Writers

   President Jimmy Carter declared a federal disaster in Ohio Thursday evening and dispatched three hundred federal troops of the Twenty-seventh Engineer Battalion, Eighteenth Airborne Corps, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The federal troops were air-lifted to Toledo Express Airport Sunday morning with arctic gear and sixty pieces of heavy equipment, including front-end loaders, bulldozers, personnel carriers, and fuel tankers, to clear roads and rescue persons in northwestern Ohio.

   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was charged with hiring private contractors to open snow-clogged roads across the state where no other assistance was available. The corps issued 1, 662 contracts to clear thirty-one thousand miles of Ohio roads at a cost of $8 million.

See Disaster, Page A4

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   Governor James Rhodes activated the Ohio National Guard Thursday morning, opening armories for public shelter and calling the Guards for duty. By 28 January, 5,005 men and women of the Guard were on active duty. Most could not get to the armories until Friday but were then pressed into long hours of duty with heavy equipment clearing roads, assisting electric utility crews in getting to fallen wires, rescuing stranded persons in emergencies, and transporting doctors and nurses to hospitals. They used nearly 800 National Guard vehicles, including four-wheel drive trucks, ambulances, graders, and bulldozers.

picture of a tank next to a VW car
Photo courtesy of Marion Historical Society

   The Ohio National Guard also performed heroic airborne rescues. Forty-five National Guard helicopters flew twenty-seven hundred missions across Ohio and rescued thousands of stranded persons, many in dire medical emergencies. They were assisted by army helicopters from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and by the Eighty-third U.S. Army Reserve Command at Columbus.

   Helicopters worked around the clock for three days on medical evacuations, rescue missions, and resupply. Kidney dialysis patients were flown from their homes to hospitals in Columbus, Chillicothe, and Dayton. National Guard helicopters delivered twenty-five persons to hospitals in Toledo on Saturday. A private helicopter and crew from Dana Corporation also worked long hours delivering fifteen persons to Toledo hospitals. National Guard helicopters were still surveying rural sections of Ohio six days after the blizzard to assure that families were safe.