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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Op/Ed: Flint Water Crisis, Gov. Rick Snyder Failure To Deploy Michigan's Army National Guard

Five Days After Declaring Flint Michigan Under a State of Emergency, Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to deploy the Michigan National Guard into the City.
Photo Credit - The Battle Creek Inquirer
Soldiers of Michigan's National Guard Greeting Commander-in-Chief
Governor Rick Snyder in December 2015

Recently, we wrote a well-received article titled Flint Water Crisis: How You Can Help Provide Clean Water Access, highlighting a number of local activists groups, non-profits and individuals stepping up to assist Flint Residents obtain Clean Water Access as it relates to the City's Toxic Water Crisis.

Yet, the Michigan National Guard or officially the Michigan Militia, has not be deployed partially or wholly to Flint since the State noted "State of Emergency" for Flint.

The open question is why not?

An Independent Underground News & Talk Op/Ed:

Officially it has been five days or since January 5, 2016, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder supposedly declared a "State of Emergency" to adjust the State's vast resources to effectively deal with Flint Clean Water Access Crisis.

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Governor Rick Snyder said in the Press Release January 5. 
“Working in full partnership with the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, all levels of government and water quality experts, we will find both short-term and long-term solutions to ensure the health and safety of Flint residents.”
Five Days After Declaring Flint Michigan Under a State of Emergency, Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to deploy the Michigan National Guard into the City.
Photo Credit- Michigan
Army National Guard Insignia,
125th Battalion

One of Michigan's State Agencies Governor Rick Snyder has not committed in any aspect to address Flint's dire situation -- is the Michigan Army National Guard (MANG).

The MANG 125th stationed in Saginaw, Michigan, is geographically located less than 30 miles from the center Governor Snyder's declared "State of Emergency".

Known as the 125th "Third Michigan" or Company B, the unit has been active since regiment under the U.S. Army Regimental System since 1922. The regiment currently consists of the 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry, an infantry battalion in the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Before relocating the 125th Battalion Headquarters to nearby Saginaw, MANG's Third Michigan headquarters was within the city of Flint, until its armory facility was deemed no longer safe or useful for the troops in August 2013.

From M-Live - August 18, 2013:

FLINT, MI -- The Michigan National Guard is going ahead with plans to move the 125th Infantry Regiment from Flint to Saginaw, and officials said they can't guarantee it will return. 
National Guard spokeswoman Corissa Barton said about 20 full-time personnel based at the 88-year-old Flint armory on Chavez Drive will leave as will weekend training until further notice. 
The move is expected to begin during the next two months and be completed before year's end. It will last at least one year, officials said. 
Although officials said they continue to search for an existing building that could be used as an armory or a site to build on in Genesee County, the process could take seven or more years to complete if federal and state funding is secured. 
"Flint has served us well for many years. We would still like to have a presence in Flint .... Unfortunately, we really can't put a timeline on it ...," Barton said. "With the budget cuts and sequestration, there are (currently) no funds to buy a new armory ..." 
Col. Steve Ward, construction facilities management officer for the Michigan National Guard, said officials have ruled out renovating the existing armory because the building's major systems all would need to be replaced and because the 5-acre site is not large enough. 
"It's not a safe environment," Ward said of the current armory on Chavez Drive near I-475. "It's probably one of the worst facilities in the country (in terms of energy efficiency and is) one of the oldest" armories in the country. 
"Bricks are falling off the roof and the chimney is falling down," he said of the Flint armory.
It remains unknown if Governor Rick Snyder asked or requested Federal Funding to repair MANG 125th's facility in Flint prior or since the unit's move to nearby Saginaw.

However, what is known is that the upwards of 600 Citizen Soldiers of MANG's "Third Michigan Company B" Battalion have the experience necessary for dealing with any State declared Emergency.

In 2010, the 125th received a "Deployment Excellence Award" for its work and overall excellence in training, logistics and administration during its 12-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.

Michigan Department of Veteran Affairs Press Release - August 31, 2010:

"This award captures the efforts of over 600 Viking soldiers through a year-and-a-half process and is a reflection of their professionalism and dedication," said Lt. Col. Ryan E. Connelly, commander of the 1-125th Infantry Regiment. 
The unit deployed more than 600 soldiers to the al-Anbar province in Iraq to conduct Security Force Operations. While in the region, the 1-125th conducted more than 2,100 combat missions, provided security and advisory support to Iraqi Security Forces throughout the al-Anbar province, and served as the I Marine Expeditionary Force's main effort during the transition of security from U.S. forces to al-Anbar provincial Iraqi control.  
The accomplishments made by the Soldiers of the 125th during their deployment are truly impressive," said Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Cutler, commander of the Michigan National Guard. "To have their skill recognized at the national level is a terrific honor for them and the Michigan Guard."


Five Days After Declaring Flint Michigan Under a State of Emergency, Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to deploy the Michigan National Guard into the City.
Photo Credit - The Pontiac Tribute
Flint Residents Protest to Demand Clean Water
Access Immediately
There is little to no question whether if MANG's 125th Battalion can effectively provide clean water and other resources to Flint Residents -- remaining under a "State of Emergency" Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared five days ago and counting.

The only question existing at this point, is why have the 125th Brigade not been deployed.

Michigan's Constitution and State Law grands the Governor full rights to request National Guard Units in the State be called to duty. 

In fact, Public Act 150 of 1967 Chapter 2, Subsection 151, known as the Michigan Military Act specifically quantifies this task squarely at the feet of Michigan's Commander-in-Chief, or in this case Rick Snyder. 
32.551 Governor as commander-in-chief; adjutant general; power to order militia to active service. 
Sec. 151. The governor is the commander-in-chief of the organized militia. He may order to active state service any members of the organized militia in case of riot, tumult, breach of the peace, resistance of process, or for service in aid of civil authority, whether state or federal, or in time of actual or imminent public danger, disaster, crisis, catastrophe or other public emergency within this state or to respond to acts or threats ofterrorism or to safeguard military or other vital resources of this state or of the United States.

If the governor and his legal successor are absent, disabled, or cannot be communicated with, the adjutant general, if he believes the danger great and imminent, may order out, in the name of the governor, such troops of the organized militia as he believes necessary to meet the emergency.
Five days, 120 hours, 7200 sections and counting since Governor Snyder used his Executive Authority to declare Flint, Michigan under a State of Emergency; the Michigan Army National Guard remains an glaringly absent in the City's nucleus.

And this absence continues, despite fact it would only take 72 hours for the 125th to deploy into any area of the state, if and when they are called to duty by the Governor of Michigan.

Michigan National Guard - "Unit of the Week: A 1/125 Infantry Regiment" Article - March 9, 2015:

The Michigan Army National Guard’s Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment  is based in Detroit and is one of the few Guard units that has a ground combat policy which excludes females from its ranks. 
Alpha Company has both a state and federal mission. The unit fulfills their state mission as the Michigan Rapid Reaction Force and trains to respond to state emergencies in support of local law enforcement and first responders. 
Upon notification, the unit will deploy within 72 hours to any area in the state that requires assistance. 
“During the brown-out in 2003, we took every single water buffalo, and brought them to metro Detroit area hospitals in case they needed clean water,” said Sgt. 1st Class Wilson Tang, the unit’s readiness noncommissioned officer.

The outright failure and incompetence of Governor Snyder to do a basic task for ensuring
Photo Credit- Huffington Post
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) has yet
to deploy the Michigan National Guard to Flint, Michigan
Five Days after declaring the city under a State of Emegency
Flint residents can have full access to clean, safe and drinkable water is being noticed Michigan's Mainstream Media Resources -- previously supporting the Governor's last quest for the State's Chief Executive Officer position, in just 2014.

President Barack Obama's Federal Emergency Management Administration, otherwise known as FEMA, have sent in at least three officials to monitor the crisis in Flint.

However, no formal or informal request for Federal Assistance has been requested by the individual possessing the sole authority to do so, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder.

Detroit Free Press - January 9, 2016
The federal government's disaster relief agency has sent three officials to assist Michigan with the Flint drinking water crisis at the state's request, but Gov. Rick Snyder has not yet requested federal financial aid in connection with the ongoing public health emergency, a Michigan State Police spokeswoman said Saturday. 
Rafael Lemaitre, director of public affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C., said on Twitter on Friday that FEMA has deployed two liaison officers to the Michigan Emergency Operations Center to provide technical assistance. A third FEMA liaison officer arrived Saturday, a state police official said. 
Capt. Chris Kelenske, deputy director of emergency management and homeland security for the state police, asked FEMA on Wednesday to send the officials "to provide support if we have any questions" about the emergency response process, MSP spokeswoman Nicole Lisabeth told the Free Press on Saturday. 
But no federal financial aid has been requested by the state because local officials are still conducting assessments and "no requests have been specifically made from local officials that needs have not been met," Lisabeth said.
Detroit, Michigan based Clean Water Access Activist Monica Lewis-Patrick of "We The People of Detroit" Organization, partnering with TRUE, Detroit School Board Member at Large Lamar Lemmons led a caravan of cars and trucks to deliver over 9000 bottles of water to assist Flint Residents on January 8.

Detroit Residents Delivered 22,000 lbs of water to Flint yesterday. Monica Lewis Patrick, of We The People of Detroit, LaMar Lemmons of the Detroit Board of Education and Tracy Leigh of TRUE ran an assembly line in a caravan of cars, trucks, and gritty, hard working Americans in the pouring rain to help get water to desperate Flint residents. Governor Snyder says it will take $1.5 billion dollars to fix mistakes of his Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley, which have poisoned the water. The Governor has now appointed Darnell Earley as Emergency Manager over Detroit Schools. Please help Michigan.
Posted by Go Left America on Saturday, January 9, 2016
However, even Lewis-Patrick questioned in the Detroit Free Press January 9 article, why Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has yet to deploy State based National Guard Units to distribute Clean Water to Flint's Residents.
"Monica Lewis-Patrick, a spokeswoman for the group We the People of Detroit, said at an anti-Snyder rally in Flint Friday that Snyder should not only be requesting federal financial assistance, but should be mobilizing the Michigan National Guard to assist with the crisis."

Independent Underground News & Talk has contacted the Michigan Army National Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Lincoln office inquire if the 125th Battalion has received the call to duty from Gov. Rick Snyder administrative officials to assist with Flint's Clean Water Access State of Emergency --  but has yet to receive an answer.

Meanwhile, the Residents of Flint await when if ever, Governor Rick Snyder will pick up the phone and call the Michigan National Guard onto duty.

Five days and counting in a failure to address a tragic crisis, in the City of Flint, within the State of Michigan Gov. Snyder still remains the Commander-in-Chief, highest Elected Official and Chief Executive Office (CEO) of.

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