By Buddy Blouin
Cooler temperatures and a White Christmas are welcomed by many as ways to set the stage for the holiday season, but in 2022, the residents of Buffalo, New York, got a bit more than they bargained for. As frigid temperatures raced across the United States, Queen City was hit with a blizzard of epic proportions. Now, members of the 107th Air Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard stationed at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station are receiving recognition for their role in assisting the area.

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The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Completed Over 100 Missions During 2022 Buffalo Blizzard

Eighteen Airmen that are serving at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station received commendation medals for their work to help Buffalo citizens from December 24 to December 31, 2022. These actions were in response to a record-breaking blizzard that ravaged the area. Known as Joint Task Force-5, they executed Operation December 2022 Winter Weather. During this time, over 100 missions took place in blizzard conditions. Such missions included getting at least 100 emergency personnel to hospitals as well as patients in need of care, helping search and rescue for both the living and deceased, and 30 welfare checks. The Airmen would also help deliver meals and water to the area. This task was always going to be a difficult one, but because they also faced the same conditions residents were facing on their trip from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, it made things that much more difficult. "I can't thank you all enough for coming in and helping our fellow citizens over a holiday weekend," said Major General Raymond Shields, who serves as the Commander of the New York Army National Guard. It’s unfortunate, but Winter Storm Elliott left dozens dead, with Buffalo suffering at least 38 fatalities. As grizzly as this may be, the total number could have been worse if not for the work of the Airmen from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Operation December 2022 Winter Weather

The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, NY, is home to both the 914th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command and the 107th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard. In total, there are more than 3,000 military members who call the installation home. It's also the site of the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) for all of the military branches in the United States, but during the extreme weather facing Americans in December 2022, its mission focused on helping out those in need. Children and the elderly were the main focus, as both are exceptionally vulnerable to such harsh temperatures. The frantic pace of such scenarios was quickly followed by a calmness and atmosphere of selflessness as the Airmen did what they do best: help make Americans safer. Such operations are commonly overcome with the help of various National Guard and Air Reserve personnel. Working together with first responders and law enforcement that are often overwhelmed by such severe situations, citizens are able to receive the extra level of protection they need in those moments. This might be one of the coldest ones to affect the U.S., but a variety of disasters receive such aid from brave people serving their fellow Americans, including hurricanes, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and, of course, blizzards.

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Airmen Serve in Rain, Sleet, or a Lot of Snow

Even when it’s what you signed up for, it’s one thing to say it and another thing to get it done. Fortunately, the folks at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station are ready to serve no matter the severity of the conditions. Buffalo suffered a lot but not as much as it could have, and the recognition of these brave efforts is more than deserved by all involved.

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