With the signing of Executive Order 2016-02 on Jan. 12, 2016, Governor Snyder called the Michigan National Guard to state active duty in Genesee County. Pursuant to the EO, Michigan Guard members would operate in support of Michigan State Police efforts to inform Flint residents that filters, bottled water, information on lead, water testing kits, and other resources were available, and to assist with the direct provision of these resources to Flint residents including door-to-door delivery. Coordination and staffing of these assignments would be left to the commanding general of the Michigan National Guard, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais.
“One of the core functions of the Michigan Guard is providing assistance to the governor in times of crisis, and as expected, the Soldiers and Airmen of the Michigan National Guard stepped up; always ready and willing to assist,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard.
The first Guard members to report for duty were responsible for the distribution of water and other materials at five Flint fire stations while a Guard command group conducted a needs assessment and staffing plan. Fifteen groups of approximately 12 Guard members each were strategically assigned a section of Flint to conduct door-to-door delivery operations. In total, more than 270 Michigan National Guard members contributed to the roughly 10-day, mission. A small contingent of Guard members will remain in state active duty status until Vadnais deems the mission complete.
A large group of Michigan National Guard Soldiers and Airmen gathered for a group photo prior to out-processing, Jan. 25, 2016. Each service member was awarded a Michigan Active State Service Ribbon with bronze oak leaf device and a Michigan Legion of Merit Medal. Two Soldiers, Maj. Joseph Cannon and Command Sgt. Maj. Vernon Pratt also received Michigan Distinguished Service Awards for their coordinating leadership roles.