COLUMBUS, Ohio – After Hurricane Ida left a path of destruction through Louisiana in late August, military personnel from across the country deployed to the state to help with recovery efforts.
About 170 Ohio Army National Guard members from several units within the 112th Transportation Battalion, with headquarters in North Canton, Ohio, were among the approximately 3,500 National Guard members from multiple states who answered Louisiana's call for assistance.
"Seeing all of these Soldiers volunteer to leave their full-time jobs and families to come down to Louisiana and help is incredible," said Capt. Ebony Pugh, commander of the 1486th Transportation Company based in Mansfield, Ohio. "I think it's the most heroic thing I've seen in a long time."
The Ohio Guard members provided transportation with about 70 vehicles and point of distribution, or "POD," commodity support to the Louisiana National Guard Sept. 13-25. They conducted 31 transportation missions and distributed meals, water and tarps to nearly 8,000 residents in Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish.
Lt. Col. Robert E. Lytton III, the 112th Transportation Battalion commander, saw firsthand the professionalism of the Ohio Soldiers during the deployment.
"Our Soldiers maintained high morale and stayed positive throughout mission changes and in a very fluid operational environment," Lytton said. "They were so happy to be able to provide direct aid in the affected areas. Leading these professionals and seeing the outstanding work they did was inspiring and it was one of the proudest moments of my career."
Cpl. Tiffany Stadelman was one of those who deployed with the 1486th.
"The Hurricane Ida relief mission was a humbling experience," Stadelman said. "It was extraordinary to get the opportunity to help those in need firsthand, as well as see the strength and positivity of those who lost so much. I loved being able to help do what the National Guard is all about."
Gov. Mike DeWine deployed the Ohio National Guard on state active duty through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, an interstate mutual aid agreement that acts as a complement to the national disaster response system to provide timely and cost-effective assistance to impacted areas.
Staff Sgt. Gregory Stevens of the Louisiana National Guard contributed to this story.