Four Vermont National Guard Members Head to Texas, Supporting Public Affairs Operations

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Four members from both the Vermont Army and Air National Guard are answering the call for help from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, whose state was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

"What they are looking for specifically senior level public affairs soldiers, NCOs and officers in order to support joint-force headquarters Texas in working media operations with their local and national media,” said Major Christopher Gootkin, Vermont National Guard.

The request for assistance comes as part of the nation's emergency management assistance compact or 'EMAC'. Governor Phil Scott signed the executive order Wednesday night, OKing the deployment.

"We don't have anything specific yet but we are ready you know to do whatever... It will be day by day,” said Tech Sgt. Sarah Mattison, Vermont National Guard.

Mattison is one of the members headed to Austin, "I specifically am a photo-journalist but we also work with the media, we do media escorts, we help with press releases you know we are going to be working in a media operations center so pretty much whatever they need from us, we are going to do."

While this is not a common practice for the National Guard, personnel in Vermont say they are always standing ready to help their fellow guard members.

Mattison said, "Everyone is trained the same so we can go anywhere and help anyone you know we have 450,000 guardsman across the country who can help out in a moment’s notice"

The mission for all four members will last nine days.

"It is a privilege to serve out neighbors in Texas in their time of need but that is what we are here for, we are here to serve at home and abroad," said Gootkin.

Also in Texas is a 16-man swift water rescue team which is in the midst of its deployment.

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