Ahead of New Year’s Eve mission, Nevada National Guard says state payment issues resolved
As hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Las Vegas to ring in 2023, the Nevada National Guard joined first responders and local law enforcement as part of a coordinated effort to protect revelers and ensure residents' safety.
In its 22nd year at the time, the 2022 cooperative New Year’s Eve mission included roughly 160 soldiers and airmen who worked through the night and into the early morning hours on the Las Vegas Strip to assist with crowd control and at the University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center for potential triage support in case of an emergency.
But long after the 2023 party glasses, noise makers and other New Year’s Eve paraphernalia had been swept off the streets and thrown away, records from the Nevada Office of the Military indicated that 19 members of the Nevada Guard hadn’t received payment for their three days of work, despite state approval to fund the mission months in advance. Final payments to the service members didn’t arrive until October 2023, 10 months after the mission.
As the Nevada Guard prepares for its 23rd annual New Year’s Eve mission in Las Vegas, a spokesman for the military organization said errors, such as an incorrect address or bank account number, in paperwork (intake packets) used to process state payments were the main contributors to the delayed payments and the problems have been resolved.
Officials added that the issue did not affect pay for drill weekends or annual training sessions, and the Nevada Guard has had no trouble recruiting volunteers for this year’s New Year’s Eve mission.
“As far as we know, all members activated under State Active Duty (SAD) orders for Hurricane Hilary’s response this past year and New Year’s Eve mission in 2022 and 2023 have been paid,” officials told The Nevada Independent.
Though officials did not provide the receipts or complete records of the mistaken payments, a report from the state’s office of the military indicated that the state paid 137 soldiers in the Army on time in January; another six were paid in February, one in March, one in April, two in May, one in July, and one in August. For the Air National Guard, 21 people were paid on time in January, one in February, two in March, two in April and two in May, with a partial payment fully paid out in October.
Gov. Joe Lomabrdo’s spokeswoman responded to questions about the paperwork delays, saying that the Nevada National Guard has worked to educate members on updating their paperwork in preparation for the mission, and the governor has no worries about payment issues this year.
“The office of the governor is proud of the diligent work of the Nevada National Guard and remains especially thankful for the Guardsmen who protect millions of Nevada residents and visitors each year on New Year’s Eve,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray said.
The Nevada Army and Air National Guard maintain a dual federal and state mission, and soldiers are typically paid through federal dollars unless there’s a state-specific emergency or event that the state requests assistance for. Those emergencies or events range from the New Year’s Eve mission to the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix or natural disasters such as tropical storm Hurricane Hilary, which led to flooding in Las Vegas.
Service requests are initiated from local jurisdictions to the state level at the Nevada Division of Emergency Management. Once a request reaches the department, the governor either approves or denies the need to activate the Nevada National Guard on SAD orders.
At the federal level, Nevada Guard members can be called in support of the president of the United States for active-duty service. The orders are usually in support of overseas contingency efforts, such as the Nevada Army National Guard's recent deployments to Kuwait (422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion), Romania (137th Military Police Detachment) and the Nevada Air National Guard's deployment to the Horn of Africa (152nd Airlift Wing) in 2022.