Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has activated almost 3,000 of his state's National Guard members to assist with hurricane relief in Florida, accounting for almost one-third of the nearly 10,000 troops from across the country being sent to assist in recovery efforts after one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history began to batter the state Sunday morning.
The entirety of the 32nd "Red Arrow" Brigade--Wisconsin's largest unit, with members across the western part of the state--will begin their journey to Florida over the next few days after training and preparation efforts are completed.
The Red Arrow, along with the smaller 1157th Transportation Company and the 112th Public Affairs Detachment, will join the 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard that have already been activated and will remain in the area as long as is necessary, officials say.
The mobilization began when Florida Governor Rick Scott asked Walker for assistance through a formal Emergency Management Assistance Compact request, with Wisconsin answering the call alongside the governors of both Ohio and Indiana. All three states' troops will form a task force that plans to fan out across Florida to assist in widespread relief efforts, officials say.
"Our mission is to help the people of Florida in any way that we can," Col. John Oakley, commander of the Red Arrow brigade, said. "We ... are uniquely suited and ready to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief."