AUGUSTA, Georgia, October 9, 2016, by 2nd Lt. D. Brice Hughes – Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Soldiers in east Georgia were recently activated to support emergency relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew. GSDF Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 5th Brigade, 76th Support Brigade, and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) supported 10 American Red Cross hurricane evacuation shelters at schools, community centers, and a church beginning on October 8 in Augusta, Georgia.
Using classrooms at Tubman Education Center as a Tactical Operations Center, Soldiers from Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade based at Fort Gordon, Georgia went into action. After working with shelter managers to assess needs, GSDF teams were dispatched to provide emergency assistance. Maj. John W. Morgan, officer in charge during the mission, reported that approximately 2,900 evacuees were temporarily housed in the 10 shelters supported by the GSDF.
As soldiers from 1st Brigade began to arrive, GSDF members were sent to provide support at shelters with the highest number of evacuees. Teams were sent to the remaining shelters when additional Soldiers from 76th Support Brigade and TRADOC became available. GSDF Soldiers provided area security, crowd control, and chaplain services. In addition, GSDF members assisted Red Cross volunteers in setting up cots for evacuees and distributing supplies.