Skip to comments.149th Fighter Wing units return from Katrina duty
Posted on 09/15/2005 8:49:45 AM PDT by Racehorse
149th Fighter Wing security forces return from Louisiana
LACKLAND AFB, Texas (Sept. 15, 2005) Forty-seven security forces personnel from the 149th Fighter Wing returned Sept. 13 from Louisiana after providing security and evacuation assistance to New Orleans residents during the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The group arrived at Kelly Field via C-130 aircraft and was taken to the 149th Fighter Wing for health assessments before leaving for home and much-needed showers and sleep.
The security team left from San Antonio Aug. 31, commanded by Lt. Col. Scott Elliott of the 204th Security Forces Squadron, and included Air Guard personnel from San Antonio, El Paso, Houston and Fort Worth. The team was the primary security resource at the New Orleans Superdome Sept. 2 and 3, where they helped 15 New Orleans police officers evacuate 35,000 frustrated, hungry, and increasingly desperate hurricane victims.
Capt. John Pollard, commander of the 149th Security Forces Squadron, said the situation that at first looked very hostile didnt turn out as bad as expected. He described the initial situation as chaotic, with temperatures about 120 degrees and people packed so tightly they couldnt breathe, and falling out from heat exhaustion. The key was getting the citizens to help each other, he said.
We got the crowd involved we didnt have a PA system or anything, Capt. Pollard said. He asked some young men in the crowd to help out. They helped us by getting everyone to back up about 40 feet so we could start moving people out.
After the Superdome was evacuated, the security team was positioned at the St. Claude Bridge to advise citizens checking on their houses and families in the 9th Ward, where no law enforcement measures were in place.
We were telling people they were at their own risk because of the dangerous environment over there, Captain Pollard said. The security team handed out water and MREs (meals ready to eat) to citizens. We werent there to use force on anybody, and we did the best we could with the resources we had, Captain Pollard added.
The team then set up operations at Gaudette Elementary School and began the search of individual homes to identify where residents were still living, as well as empty homes and locations of bodies. They also provided security for engineers who were cutting trees and clearing out roads from the downtown area to Loyola University.
Captain Pollard said there are few civilians left in New Orleans, and his team is in good spirits and ready to go home.
Were ready for running water and porcelain toilets, Captain Pollard said, adding that everyone got one good shower while we were there. Otherwise it was a Hollywood shower, with six bottles of bottled water.
More than 150 members of the 149th FW remain in New Orleans and continue to provide security assistance; and distribute food, water and medical supplies; and help with debris removal.
149th Fighter Wing medics return from hurricane relief mission
LACKLAND AFB, Texas (Sept. 11, 2005) Twenty-five medics from the 149th Fighter Wing returned Friday from Louisiana after providing medical support to New Orleans residents during the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The group arrived at Kelly Field at 8:30 p.m. via military transport aircraft and was greeted by a small welcoming party of spouses and unit leaders. A medical doctor conducted health assessments before the exhausted medics were allowed to leave for home and much-needed showers and sleep.
The medical Small Portable Expeditionary Aeromedical Rapid Response team left from San Antonio Aug. 31, commanded by Lt. Col. Connie McNabb and including Air Guard personnel from San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth. The team was the primary medical resource at the New Orleans Convention Center Sept. 2 and 3, running a triage system to stabilize and evacuate those needing serious medical attention, and providing treatment on the spot to others, including delivering babies. Augmented on Saturday by U.S. Navy and civilian emergency medical technicians, the group assisted close to 5,000 residents in the first few days.
Our first mission was to help evacuees at the convention center so they could be transported to locations for more in-depth medical care, said Lt. Col. McNabb. We did all we could to ease their pain, stabilize their condition and provide them with some dignity and compassion.
The medical team moved from the convention center to Belle Chase Joint Reserve Base Sept. 5, where they set up a 25-bed medical facility to care for and coordinate evacuations for the growing military population throughout New Orleans. Once the local hospitals and ambulance services were up and functioning for civilians, our mission switched to providing medical care for everyone in uniform, Colonel McNabb said.
The 149th FW teams are currently working out of the New Orleans Convention Center and Loyola University. Medical operations will also continue at Belle Chase; the team from Texas was replaced by medical personnel from National Guard units from across the United States.
The men and women of the 149th Fighter Wing have been fully supporting the rescue and relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina since early last week, said Col. John Nichols, wing commander. We will continue to support operations for the foreseeable future.
And continued thanks to those still providing assistance to Louisiana.
Ditto. I hope the health assessments turn out alright.