By Spc. Dustin BivenSeptember 5, 2017
KATY, TEXAS - In response to Hurricane Harvey, the United States Army has deployed more than 700 wheeled-vehicles and over 90 helicopters. Although these assets are invaluable, it is the service men and women aiding in the recovery who fill the more than 16,000 uniforms who are making the difference to those in need.
Since the relief effort began, Soldiers have saved 6,000 in both Texas and Louisiana and rescued over 300 pets.
"We are very proud to do this, it means so much," said Lt. Col. Matthew Masias, a commander and pilot in the Texas Army National Guard. "Every time we get a mission, we know we are doing something good for people, and we know what we are doing is helping people in need out."
Masias has conducted several missions with his crew to deliver life-supporting supplies to the communities that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Houston Executive Airport in Katy, Texas, just outside of Houston, has become a major hub for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Military aircraft are continuously coming and going. The mission can range from rescue, supply distribution or troop transportation.
Maj. Scott S. Davis, a flight physical assistant assigned to the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard, participated in multiple supply drops, to include a food and water drop-off in Sour Lake, Texas on Sept. 1.
Davis said, "Watching these pilots, crew chiefs and maintenance crews work hard to get much needed supplies to those most in need has been one of the highlights of my career."
Aviation missions began on Aug. 31 from Houston Executive Airport and have been running continuously since. Transport by aircraft has been effective and efficient, thus resulting in a demanding schedule for pilots and crews.
"We're on 24-hour operations now, flying day and night," said Pvt. Robert Paul, an infantryman in the 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, Texas Army National Guard called up to support the relief operations. "We're just getting started, there are plenty out there who need our help."
Thousands of people along the U.S. Gulf Coast suffered from Hurricane Harvey. The efforts to relieve those in need include contributions from service members from all over the country.
"The moment we saw that people were in need, we answered their call. In situations like this, it's not Texans helping Texas, or Louisianans helping Louisiana," said Masias. "We have people from all over coming to help, so it's really Americans helping Americans and it's amazing."