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Tennessee Guard to Aid in Florence relief


November 14, 2018

By Megan Hollaway
Freelance Writer

The Tennessee National Guard has pledged their support to the citizens of South Carolina to aid in relief for Hurricane Florence. The National Guard is an incredibly flexible and diverse multi-functional section of the army, and those serving in it are always prepared to drop their civilian lives and aid the citizens in the states no matter the emergency. Hurricane Florence, which devastated sections of eastern coastline, has proved a big job for the Tennessee National Guard. In early October more than 100 personnel left Athens, armed with equipment and supplies to work for nearly two weeks.

Since the 2012 Unity of Effort initiative, which passed to encourage the National Guards involvement in the relief from disasters, the speed and accuracy of relief has increased- especially through hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Michael, and now Florence. The Unity of Effort incentive was put in place to maintain a clear chain of command and clearly define the Guards role in the disaster response. There are now set training sessions during basics that help soldiers prepare for emergencies, not of active combat, but for the protection of our own citizens from the elements.

The National Guard has also participated recently with search and rescue missions, as well as delved into the fascinating work of the Arpad Vass, an Oak Ridge Scientist and Forensic Anthropologist. This work is to ensure that the soldiers of the guard are prepared to work in any terrain and have skills relevant to forensic excursions.
The National Guard of Mountain City is currently looking for recruits to serve their state and country by being a Guardsman. There has been a change to the previous restrictions about tattoos, and the recruitment officers are now happy to accept applications from individuals with some ink. While disaster relief is not the sole job of the National Guard, it is an incredibly important one, and the citizens of South Carolina’s coast are thankful for the involvement of the Tennessee Guard.

While ending a busy season in assisting those in need the Guard was please to promote Tommy H. Baker, of Huntingdon, to Major General in a ceremony held at the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters on Friday, November 9, 2018. Baker, the Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Tennessee National Guard, is responsible for the training and supervision of the more than 9,000 Soldiers in the Tennessee Army National Guard.

“Maj. Gen. Baker has a long and accomplished career with the Tennessee National Guard and it was an honor to get to the opportunity to promote an officer as deserving as him,” said Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “He is a gifted leader and an invaluable member of my team.”

Baker is a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Martin with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. He received his master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Military Management from Touro University, and is a 2011 graduate of the United States Army War College with a master’s degree in Strategic Studies.