Members of the Michigan National Guard were formally activated Wednesday morning, Jan. 13, 2016, by Governor Snyder to assist in distributing water to the citizens of Flint. The Guard members will be assigned to five water distribution sites at fire stations in Flint and will help distribute water and filters to citizens in need.
“This is a great opportunity for our members of the Michigan Guard to help out the citizens of Flint,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director for the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and adjutant general for the Michigan Guard. “One of the core functions of the Michigan Guard is providing assistance to the Governor and we are trained and ready to assist.”
The small initial group of Soldiers in Flint are assessing the specific requirements of the support needed and a larger contingent of Michigan Guard members are expected to be in Flint Friday morning. The Michigan Guard anticipates the need to be around 30 Guard members. The duration of the support is unknown although the Guard is prepared to stay as long as needed.
Maj. John Keelean, officer in charge of the Soldiers supporting the Flint Water mission, conducts a press briefing alongside Sherriff Robert Pickell at one of the water distribution sites in Flint. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Eric Bandy / Released)
“Our mission is to assist with distribution at the fire stations and free up other support agencies to expand their operations,” said Maj. John Keelean, officer in charge of the Soldiers providing support. “We are here at the request of the governor and taking our directions from Michigan State Police.”
The Michigan National Guard was authorized for state active service by Executive Order 2016-02.