National Guard to supervise Joplin debris removal, cleanup
Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the Missouri National Guard to supervise the cleanup and debris removal process in Joplin.
Citizen-soldiers and sirmen were activated immediately after the May 22 tornado and are ready for their new mission, said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of Missouri.
"We are ready for the new mission Gov. Nixon has given us and are prepared to help our friends and Family in Joplin in every way we can," Danner said. "Everyone in the nation wants to do everything they can for our neighbors in Joplin, and the Missouri National Guard is in a position to do just that. We've been working tirelessly alongside thousands of state and local agencies to help the people of Joplin through this crisis, and we're ready to do even more."
The Guard will work alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has been tasked with leading the contracting effort, said Col. David Boyle, director of plans, operations and training, at Joint Force Headquarters in Jefferson City.
"The Missouri National Guard will monitor and handle quality assurance to make sure the job is being done right and priorities are executed - that's what the Corps of Engineers and Missouri National Guard will partner together to do," Boyle said. "We will work side-by-side with the Corps of Engineers to monitor the cleanup."
Boyle said it is expected that one or two large contracting companies would be hired, but that the work will be done by local contractors. That will help in economic recovery by creating jobs locally, Boyle said.
Meanwhile, the Guard is continuing the work it has been doing since the storm hit. Ongoing missions including working with local law enforcement remain a major priority for the Guard. Citizen-Soldiers are manning traffic control points and patrolling. Soldiers from the 117th Engineer Team also set up a mobile hospital outside St. John's Hospital in Joplin.
"We are here for the people of Joplin - for the big missions and the small ones," Danner said. "Whether we're talking about the Citizen-Soldiers who will be supervising the debris removal or we're talking about Missouri National Guard military policemen manning a traffic control point, every part of our mission is important."