Skip to comments.Quick turnaround: Texas Guard provides back-to-back hurricane assistance
Posted on 09/22/2005 5:00:15 PM PDT by Racehorse
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (Sept. 22, 2005) -- Texas Air National Guard personnel returning home from Hurricane Katrina duty had just enough time to catch up on sleep before receiving the order to repack their bags. Now they are preparing to deal with the aftermath of another hurricane Rita this time on the Texas coast.
Members of the 149th Fighter Wing, based on Lackland, will be part of a package of 400 personnel and equipment, named Task Force Seguin, which is part of the 1,750-member Joint Task Force Texas, formed after Gov. Rick Perry directed Texas Military Forces to meet requests for assistance after the hurricane hits. Both Soldiers and Airmen of the Texas National Guard will constitute the task forces, which are staging out of San Antonio and will deploy to coastal areas following the storms landfall.
Guard personnel from throughout Texas will assist civil authorities with emergency support functions such as rescue, medical, transportation, distribution of supplies, security and road clearing. Army elements arrive Thursday and are staying at military bases throughout San Antonio.
Texas National Guard members were some of the first responders in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. More than 250 members from the 149th Fighter Wing and units in Fort Worth, Houston and El Paso evacuated 35,000 residents from the Superdome. Air Guard medical personnel set up a triage system to treat and evacuate flood victims at the New Orleans Convention Center. Other Guard members distributed food, water and medical supplies and helped civil authorities with debris removal. These Texas Guardsmen were called home Sept. 19 when Hurricane Rita began posing a threat to Texas.
Some Soldiers and Airmen with families along the Texas coast are already feeling the impact of Rita, and other Guard members are trying to help them out by opening their homes. One member of the 149th FW made room for 10 additional people to stay in her San Antonio home until the storm passes. Ironically, she may be deployed to the very area they evacuated.
My family got here from Houston last night, and now Im going to see whats left of the area, said Maj. Joye Haun. Its like were trading places for the weekend.
The 149th Fighter Wing, which flies F-16 fighter aircraft out of Kelly Field, is also making its own hurricane preparations. Since Sept. 1 the unit has been managing ongoing hurricane relief actions while continuing its primary Air Force mission of training F-16 fighter pilots.
Luckily one class was just finishing up and the next class hadnt begun flying yet, so we could get the students out of here before the storm hit, said Col. John Nichols, 149th Fighter Wing commander. If necessary, the aircraft will be relocated further west, out of harms way.
With this second hurricane, fighter wing members continue long duty days. Most of them have had only a few days off since the beginning of September.
We hope theres not a third hurricane, but if there is, were ready for it, Colonel Nichols said. Thats our job.
GOD BLESS TEXAS and the TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD. If texas fails and the hurricane gets the best of Texas,we take Texas back, we are not some liberal sissies, we fight to bring it back, the same way they did after 1900. We all roll up our sleeves and fight back, this is the American way. Sorry liberals