NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - When the governor declares a state of emergency and activates the New York National Guard and the Naval Militia, citizen soldiers drop what they're doing to help our communities in crisis. Fox 5 got an exclusive look at Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor to see how they do just that.
Camp Smith is the main coordinating point for the New York National Guard and its Marine Corps and Navy counterparts, the New York Naval Militia.
Their main job is to protect the public and support local law enforcement and first responders, no matter what the threat. They're in high demand during storms and natural disasters when simple tasks like getting around are dangerous.
They also conduct wellness checks on residents in remote locations—an urgent need, especially when the power has been out for days. Specialist Jack Taylor is a licensed practical nurse for people with disabilities and brings his medical training to every mission.
A group of soldiers I spoke with had just returned from 24 hours of rescue work during the nor'easter. Despite the time away from their careers and families, and the difficult conditions, they take pride in their service and told me that it is worth it.
The soldiers, airmen, and militiamen remain activated as long as is necessary—days, weeks or months.