National Guard: Troop operations will be announced
Safe grocery delivery to stores a priority
COTTONWOOD - An official with the Arizona National Guard said the military vehicles seen in Cottonwood over the weekend were not part of any unannounced operation.
However, he said National Guard vehicles could be used in the days ahead to aid with large shipments involving private companies, especially to grocery stores.
David Nunn, a public affairs official for the Guard, said troops will not be stocking shelves, but will assist with secure transport of goods from warehouses to stores, typically during overnight hours.
“This is going to happen between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.,” Mills said. “Store chains have plenty of toilet paper and other goods in warehouses, but getting it into customers’ hands is tougher. Most people won’t even know they’re out on the road.”
Thursday, March 19, Gov. Doug Ducey announced he was activating the Guard, in a reversal of a previous stance.
Friday, he announced the Guard could be utilized for providing hazardous-materials protective equipment to hospitals that have "inadequate and uni-sized protective gear,” assembly and preparation of field hospitals to treat those with non-COVID-19 conditions to allow hospitals to focus on those with the novel coronavirus and provide a reserve of medical providers.
Sunday, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs announced the Guard will “this week, activate more than 700 Arizona citizen-soldiers and airmen to support grocery stores and foodbanks with their diverse logistical needs during this state of emergency response to COVID-19.”
The statement went on to say the Guard will be working with the state’s civilian workforce and volunteer organizations to transport much needed supplies to stock grocery stores and foodbanks.
“We will communicate frequently as we define our requirements to support the logistical supply chain system,” Mills said.
Mills said the vehicles spotted in Cottonwood appear to be M-ATVs, which are mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) all-terrain vehicles that are being delivered to modernize U.S. Armed Forces.
“This modernization process has been occurring nationwide for years and these vehicles are being delivered most likely to Arizona National Guard readiness centers in your area,” Mills said. “This is not in response to our mobilization last week in support of our communities to surge logistical capacity assistance to our retail partners and food banks.”
Mills said the National Guard does not have clandestine operations to help with weather- or health-related situations; success on such missions is entirely dependent on transparency and an announced presence and purpose.
“Counties and cities will be notified about any operations that directly affect citizens, and those municipalities will be asked to announce why we’re in the area,” Mills said.
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