By Staff Sgt. David Kirtland, Louisiana National GuardAugust 31, 2017
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana National Guard joined in Texas rescue efforts Wednesday, including helping evacuate a nursing home in Orange.
The LANG is providing Guard members, high-water vehicles, buses and helicopters to conduct search and rescue and transport people from the Texas border to shelters that have been established in Lake Charles.
"Louisiana is prepared to help Texas in any way possible," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "Fortunately, we are able to take care of the needs of Louisiana as well as provide the manpower and resources necessary to help Texas in its time of need. We've all been through this as partners in the past, and there is no doubt that we will get through this event together as well."
The Louisiana National Guard is acting at the direction of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. It's working with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marines Reserves, Louisiana State Police and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to rescue Texan citizens from the rising floodwaters in southeast Texas.
As the disaster brought by Hurricane Harvey's landfall last Friday continues to unfold in Texas, Air and Army National Guard units join civilian emergency partners and other military units in rescues and providing services to the thousands of people displaced by flooding.
More than 5,700 people have been rescued, according to the National Guard Bureau. More troops - including active-duty, Guard and Reserves - will be phased in as necessary, military officials have said.
As of Friday, these states were providing Army and Air National Guard personnel:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Louisiana's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, said Louisiana and Texas have a longstanding history of helping each other in times of need.
"They were here during Katrina, and they helped us last year during the floods. That bond, that feeling you get when you cross state borders to help those in need, to provide relief, that's what makes the National Guard special."
The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Marines Reserves are conducting air search and rescue operations in the Port Arthur, Texas, area. LANG Airmen with the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron, headquartered in Pineville, are providing aircraft communication support to the Coast Guard at the Southland Airport in Sulphur.
"We are setting up communications at Southland Field," said Master Sgt. Mark Simpson, who is with the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron. "We are linking the Coast Guard's tactical operations centers to the air assets so messages as far as Orange, Port Arthur and Beaumont [Texas] to help coordinate rescue efforts."
Also, Soldiers with the LANG's 139th Regional Support Group have staged commodities, which include MREs, tarps, sandbags and bottles of water at various points throughout the state in order to provide quick distribution to affected areas.
To date, the LANG has issued more than 1,152 MREs, 3,000 bottles of water and 415,000 sandbags.
The LANG has more than 530 Guard members activated in parishes around its home state responding to the weather emergency response, to include eight helicopters for search and rescue and Guard troops with high-water vehicles and boats prepositioned in Calcasieu, Vermillion, Orleans, Lafayette, Red River, Natchitoches, Caddo, Ouachita and Rapides parishes.