U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard volunteered for and is being called to state active duty by the Hawaii Army National Guard to support Hawaii County’s response to the lava flow threatening Pahoa, officials said.
The congresswoman serves as a military police captain in the National Guard. She will join about 80 National Guard soldiers and airmen already on the ground.
Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a Hawaii National Guard spokesman, said Gabbard will be working out of the National Guard command post near the Pahoa Community Center.
Anthony said the unarmed Guard soldiers and airmen are being used at checkpoints and are conducting "presence patrols" using Humvees.
"They are being used as additional eyes and ears for the police," Anthony said. "If they see something suspicious, they call it in, and that way the police can come in and check it out."
Anthony said National Guard soldiers are being sent to Pahoa for anywhere from a week to three weeks.