by Bennett Leigh
The recent flooding in Louisiana flooded tens of thousands of homes and caused millions of dollars in damages, but as always, the National Guard was there to help wherever needed.
Roughly 4,000 Louisiana Air and Army Guardsmen were called upon to help local authorities with emergency flood operations and missions including evacuations, search and rescue missions, engineering missions, commodities distribution and security at several shelters.
Guardsmen left behind their own flooded homes to assist local authorities, rescuing nearly 20,000 citizens and more than 2,600 pets from the rapidly rising floodwaters that no one had predicted. Some communities received nearly three feet of rain in less than 72 hours, and the flooding that resulted in areas that previously had no water issues has been called “The Thousand-Year Flood.”
“Many of the guys in our units are also affected, and it resonates with me that they would take time from their own personal lives and sacrifice that time to assist those in need,” said Capt. Dan Gaskins, executive officer of the 773rd MP Battalion, which assisted with area shelters that housed hundreds of people.
Soliders and Airmen recalled another time 11 years ago that the National Guard was called upon in Louisiana to help fellow citizens. Sgt. Bryan Campo of the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company out of Marrero, La., said the response reminded him of Hurricane Katrina, when he saw the National Guard in his and other area neighborhoods and he wanted to help people the same way. “I signed up to protect my state and country, and it’s rewarding to see the impact and the sense of hope we give the community,” he said.
“This is one of my proudest moments,” he said.