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National Guard searches and rescues after Okla. tornado

May. 21, 2013 - 08:38PM   |  

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RAW VIDEO: Oklahoma National Guard secures element...: RAW VIDEO: Soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard's 700 Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team secure a perimeter around the Plaza Tower Elementary School, which was devastated by a tornado on May 20, 2013. (Army)
Oklahoma National Guard soldiers from the 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, respond May 20 to the devastation caused by a tornado that killed dozens of people in Moore, Okla. (Sgt. 1st Class Kendall James / Army)

More than 150 Oklahoma Air and Army National Guard troops were on hand Tuesday to help with security and rescue operations following a devastating tornado in Moore, Okla.

According to the National Guard Bureau, 24 are confirmed dead, including nine children from an elementary school, where guardsmen are using thermal imaging technology to search for survivors in the destroyed building.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sent in guardsmen after the tornado ripped through two elementary schools in the Oklahoma City suburb on Monday afternoon, when children were still in school.

Soldiers from the 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were on hand to provide security around disaster sites, including Plaza Towers Elementary School, as well as aid in rescue efforts.

Air Force 2nd. Lt. Gabriel Bird told the Pentagon Channel that many of the men in his unit, part of the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron, have experience in disaster-relief operations.

“Hopefully, we’ll find survivors,” Bird said.

The tornado hit around 3: 15 p.m. CDT on Monday, with winds whipping up to 200 mph and with a base approximately one mile wide.

“As a nation, our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue, and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead,” President Obama said Tuesday from the White House.

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