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May 2, 2014

Live Oak’s Guard deployed to Panhandle to help with storm recovery

Live Oak —

The Florida Army National Guard unit in Live Oak was deployed this week to help in storm relief efforts in the Panhandle. 

Live Oak’s 868th Engineer Company sent approximately 25 soldiers and 10 high-water vehicles from Live Oak to Walton County’s Emergency Operations Center Wednesday, according to Major M. Caitlin Brown of the Florida National Guard. 

The Live Oak unit is part of approximately 75 soldiers and 24 high-water vehicles that were activated into service at the direction of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

“The assets are deploying to several counties in the Florida Panhandle in response to the state of emergency there caused by severe weather and flooding,” said Brown. “If conditions worsen and the situation warrants, sufficient personnel are available to respond on state active duty.”

According to Lt. Col. James Evans, Florida National Guard public affairs officer, there are approximately 9,000 troops available now to support emergency operations in the state.

The Guard’s total troop strength is near 10,000 Army and 2,000 air.

According to Brown, Live Oak’s Guard used to house the 689th Engineer Det. (Asphalt) and the 269th Engineer Det. (Well Driller), however, those are no longer located in Live Oak. They are now located at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Starke and are not involved in the response. 

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