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A native son takes charge in Gulf Coast (Lt. Gen. Russel Honore)
CS Monitor ^

Posted on 09/09/2005 11:53:22 AM PDT by traumer

IN COMMAND: Lt. Gen. Russel Honore has emerged as the strongest leader in the Gulf Coast's massive relief effort following hurricane Katrina.

A native son takes charge in Gulf Coast Bluff general invigorates hurricane relief effort.

CAMP SHELBY, MISS. – He's known for his searing one-liners; a relentless schedule that allows only two hours of sleep a night; and a growly, commanding presence. He's also in charge of the military's response to hurricane Katrina. If that superstorm now rivals the 9/11 terror attacks on the scale of national disasters, then First Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has emerged as the Rudy Giuliani of the Gulf Coast.

A rough-talking Louisiana native, he is credited with changing the character of the relief effort from a mad scramble to an increasingly orderly and effective rescue and restoration. But General Honoré is also having to navigate a fine line between necessary leadership and the specter of federal troops using force against American citizens. So far, he appears to have succeeded.

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In the Monitor Friday, 09/09/05 Where do gas prices go next? Yahoo, Chinese police, and a jailed journalist As Israel leaves Gaza, will militants lay down their guns? After four years, first signs of renewal at ground zero Opinion: American crisis of confidence More stories...

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"This is a particularly urgent situation and it looks like the military is the only thing that's functioned in this entire mess," says Michael Greve, an expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "Once they arrived, things turned around."

In fact, a SurveyUSA poll of 1,200 Americans this week voted General Honoré as the most effective leader of the relief operation, ahead of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and, at the bottom of the list, Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Running on a couple of hours' sleep a night, Honoré brings an unbridled passion to his job, challenging subordinates to keep up, his aides say. "The name fits: If he's not Honoré, he's ornery," says one volunteer.

"He's less a man than a force of nature," says his battle captain, Maj. John Rogers. "He knows the way and that's why he's leading. If you wonder whether God has a role in this relief effort, General Honoré is proof: He's the right man for the job."

The general himself talks of Katrina - which caused potentially thousands of fatalities, displaced an estimated 1 million people, and wrecked at least 140,000 homes - as an enemy. "It was a classic military attack," he says here at Camp Shelby, the US Northern Command forward headquarters in the Katrina effort. "He destroyed communications and moved barges across roads. He created shock and paralysis."

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security, through FEMA, is running the operation, and the Army gets its orders from DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. But it's the Humvees, five-ton trucks, and the spirit of the leader that are changing attitudes on the ground, and are largely responsible for bringing a sliver of hope to the shell-shocked victims of Katrina - and bolstering weary relief workers. Willing to get into even the dirtiest task, the general has, by force of personality, changed the pace of the operation as he zips by helicopter from New Orleans to Biloxi, from Gulfport to the canteen of the USS Iwo Jima tied up to the New Orleans docks. His energy is infectious. "There's hope in his message," says Lt. Col. John Cornelio.

As head of the First Army, the job fell to him. Before heading up First Army, the 34-year infantryman had done everything from commanding troops in Korea to developing readiness plans for improvised explosive devices in Iraq. The fact that he's a black Cajun, one of 11 children from Lakeland, La., hasn't hurt his efforts in dealing with the large numbers of blacks along the Gulf Coast. His daughter, out of town during the storm, and extended family live in and around New Orleans.

The general has become the man everybody wants to talk to, from Ted Koppel to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. On Thursday morning, Sen. Trent Lott managed to secure a piece of his time for a quick debrief. But his aides say Honoré isn't immune to exhaustion, and they spend much of their time protecting him. "He can snap in a minute," one aide explained.

A man of a thousand one-liners, Honoré has told soldiers to keep their guns down: "This isn't Iraq." Aides-de-camp says he knows how to cut through the thickets of famously murky Louisiana politics. At a recent staff meeting here at Camp Shelby, he growled, "We're not stuck on stupid." It became the saying of the day, written on a bulletin board.

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Sometimes the comments sting, and more than one National Guardsman - especially the men who weathered the storm with the masses in the chaotic Superdome - has bristled at his commands and wondered about the source of his authority. But most soldiers - and, in turn, the vast numbers of volunteers and rescuers - seem invigorated by his drive.

"Soldiers like to see leaders who are more 'Do as I do' than 'Do as I say,' " says Staff Sgt. Sharon McBride, who is bivouacked at Camp Shelby. "During a time like this, everybody is looking for someone who has that authority."

Still, some experts say the potential for a backlash against troops can happen if the demands of the natural disaster recede and restlessness or lawlessness rise.

The presence of an active-duty three-star general overseeing 18,000 troops inside the United States in a pocket of scattered unrest is a test of posse comitatus, or "power of the county." Congress enacted the idea after the Civil War at the behest of Southern senators to end the occupation of the South by the US Army.

"There are things that can happen that would become a real ugly picture," says Craig Trebilcock, a York, Pa., lawyer and judge advocate general in the Army Reserve. "It's a real tightrope act."

So far, Honoré has walked it, declining this week to forcibly remove the 10,000 people still in New Orleans. "That is not something for federal troops," he says. "We're doing what we can today and tomorrow to help people and save lives."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: honore; katrina

1 posted on 09/09/2005 11:53:24 AM PDT by traumer
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To: traumer

Too bad that Brown didn't have something like this in him.


2 posted on 09/09/2005 11:54:39 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: traumer; beachbum88

Thanks for posting. Brian Lamb touched on this article this morning on C-SPAN's Washington Journal.


3 posted on 09/09/2005 11:55:50 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: RobbyS

...or Blanco


4 posted on 09/09/2005 11:56:52 AM PDT by dolphin558
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To: traumer

Honore for the Governor !!


5 posted on 09/09/2005 11:57:05 AM PDT by traumer
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To: traumer
Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré running the show : BUSH'S FAULT!
6 posted on 09/09/2005 11:57:08 AM PDT by frogjerk (LIBERALISM - Being miserable for no good reason)
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To: dolphin558

In Blanco, LA --including the poor blacks in NOLAS--got a leader of their choosing. Don't think that Jindal would have made the same mistakes.


7 posted on 09/09/2005 12:01:51 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: frogjerk

And a vice-admiral of the Coast guard is not runing the FEMA operation. Quality counts.


8 posted on 09/09/2005 12:02:47 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: RobbyS

NOW RUNNING. Me bad!


9 posted on 09/09/2005 12:03:18 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: RobbyS

But then again...imagine Allllllll the work Brown would have had to do to get himself 3 Stars....and then....earn the respect of All chains-of-command below himself, too.


10 posted on 09/09/2005 12:05:11 PM PDT by ExcursionGuy84 ("I will Declare the Beauty of The LORD.")
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To: traumer

I love that guy. He was being interviewed on 60 minutes and looked like he wanted to plant his boot up the commie reporters ass for asking such loaded, biased questions.
He wasn't taking any $hit from him. Make him Governor of LA.


11 posted on 09/09/2005 12:05:55 PM PDT by Proud_USA_Republican
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To: traumer

I'm sure the liberals hate the fact that Gen Honore is black. Kinda blows holes in their belief that black people can't succeed without their help.


12 posted on 09/09/2005 12:08:39 PM PDT by American Quilter
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To: ExcursionGuy84

"a SurveyUSA poll.... General Honoré as the most effective leader of the relief operation,
ahead of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco !,
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin !!
and, at the bottom of the list, Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "


13 posted on 09/09/2005 12:08:53 PM PDT by traumer
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To: Proud_USA_Republican

We need more doers like General Honore'. And less bloodless, spineless administrators like Nagin, Blanco and Brown.


14 posted on 09/09/2005 12:10:42 PM PDT by tom paine 2
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To: American Quilter
I'm sure the liberals hate the fact that Gen Honore is black

?!?!?!?!?! He looks like my Italian grandfather ...

15 posted on 09/09/2005 12:11:55 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I believe he is Cajun.


16 posted on 09/09/2005 12:15:11 PM PDT by pbear8 (Come back Cyborg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: traumer
There's no doubt about it. When General Honore shows up, everybody knows who is in charge.

GO ARMY!!!!

17 posted on 09/09/2005 12:21:01 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (We Gave Peace A Chance. It Didn't Work Out. Google: 09-11-01.)
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To: traumer
At a recent staff meeting here at Camp Shelby, he growled, "We're not stuck on stupid." It became the saying of the day, written on a bulletin board.

We should turn that into the new motto of the Democrat party:

'Stuck on Stupid'


18 posted on 09/09/2005 12:23:05 PM PDT by GaltMeister (“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”)
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To: pbear8; ArrogantBustard
I believe he is Cajun.

Not quite, though he was known as *The Ragin' Cajun* by his troops when he was the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.

He's Creole.

Lieutenant General Russel L. Honore

Commanding General

First United States Army

Fort Gillem, Georgia

General Honore is a native of Lakeland, Louisiana. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College.

General Honore has served in a variety of command and staff positions. His overseas assignments include tours in Korea and Germany. He served as Commanding General, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Vice Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Commanding General and Assistant Commandant, United States Army Infantry Center and School, Fort Benning, Georgia; and Assistant Division Commander, Maneuver/Support, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Most recently, General Honore served as Commander, Standing Joint Force Headquarters – Homeland Security, U.S. Northern Command.

General Honore’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.


19 posted on 09/09/2005 12:24:13 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: pbear8

The fact that he's a black Cajun, one of 11 children from Lakeland, La.....

He doesn't look black to me


20 posted on 09/09/2005 12:26:56 PM PDT by traumer
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To: traumer

Is he from a Creole family????


21 posted on 09/09/2005 12:40:53 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("Si vis pacem para bellum")
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To: traumer

HOmeland Security and Chertof maybe running the show on paper...when questioned on a plan...Chertof pointed to the Honore and said 'I'm following the general"


22 posted on 09/09/2005 12:43:52 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: joesnuffy

Hey, what about thinking a little higher - we've had Presidents who served as Generals before - I LIKE this guy - "PRESIDENT HONORE" in 2008!


23 posted on 09/09/2005 1:13:21 PM PDT by princess leah (\)
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To: princess leah

what if he is a democrat... ?


24 posted on 09/09/2005 1:41:55 PM PDT by traumer
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