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Florida National Guard ready to serve after Tropical Storm Karen, if needed

8:21 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The doors to the maintenance area remain shut at the National Guard Armory in St. Augustine, but about 20 military technicians have been called back to work from furloughs to monitor the progress of Karen in the Gulf. The technicians will make plans to call out the Florida National Guard if the storm warrants their response.

"Hopefully it is just a rain event but we have to be prepared. This could spawn tornadoes or other weather events, flooding and all that. We have to be prepared even if it doesn't reach a hurricane strength but a high tropical storm strength," said Col. Bill Beiswenger.

Twenty active duty guardsmen have been called to work as well to help at the Florida National Guard headquarters. A storm like this comes at a time when stormy relations in Washington leave the National Guard shorthanded.

"It is not the best timing in the world, but we will be ready. The Florida National Guard is ready to respond to the citizens of Florida, we will be there," said Chief of Staff Col. Perry Hageman.

The Guard's motto is "always ready, always there." Hageman said despite the current restrictions he's confident the guard will do the job if called upon.

"We have been contacted by numerous soldiers that are watching the news, understand the events that are occurring, and are eager to get back to the workplace and support the citizens of Florida."

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