By Capt. John Moore (82nd Airborne)July 15, 2016
The last time the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division was in New Orleans was September 2005. Then, they patrolled the streets on foot and in boats, hoping to find survivors and provide a helping hand to anyone during their time of need. On July 15, 2016, they took an opportunity to pay homage to those who lost their lives during the hurricane, and to enhance their knowledge of the unit in which they serve, while visiting the National WWII Museum.
"It's humbling to be in New Orleans 11 years after such a catastrophic event devastated the Gulf Coast," said Col. Gregory B. Beaudoin, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. commander. "I'm proud of 3rd Brigade's contributions to our nation during such an uncertain time. The readiness and selfless service of our Paratroopers set the example for others to follow."
The ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina occurred during 2015. During that time, the 3rd BCT was again making history, this time in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While overseas, Paratroopers diligently trained Iraqi Security Forces as part of the anti-ISIL campaign. Due to the deployment, the brigade could not attend the remembrance activities; unable to stand in somber solidarity with numerous others there.
Unit history is important to many soldiers throughout the United States Army, perhaps nowhere more than in the 82nd Airborne Division. To that end, Paratroopers from the brigade visited the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. There, they learned more about the campaigns in which the brigade served since its inception on July 6, 1942.
"I've visited a few different military museums in my lifetime, many of which had exhibits containing history of the 82nd Abn. Div.," said Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew T. Bristow II, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment senior enlisted Paratrooper. "While many have the same historical events pertaining to 3rd Brigade, each museum is a little different. It's inspiring to have this opportunity to visit yet another, and learn more about this storied unit. The Paratroopers that toured the museum today will undoubtedly have something to carry forward with them for the rest of their lives."
New Orleans community leaders took time out of their busy schedules to thank the servicemembers for their contributions. Councilmembers Susan G. Guidry (District A), and James A. Gray II (District E), stopped by to show their support for the Brigade.
"I was here every day [following Hurricane Katrina]," said Gray. "I'm really glad you came. Everyone was much calmer, much more collected after that."
Councilmember at-large Jason R. Williams also expressed his appreciation for the brigade's contributions. "I sincerely appreciate the service that the brigade selflessly gave our city during our darkest hour," said Williams.