By 2nd Lt. Alex Juan and Pfc. Tarell J. BilboJune 1, 2010
PORT FOURCHON, La. (Army News Service, June 1, 2010) -- Activated Louisiana National Guard Soldiers are continuing efforts to brace the state's coastline for impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The Guard's 225th Engineer Brigade is continuing to construct a sand-filled basket barrier on the beach in Port Fourchon, La. To date, the engineers have built about 2.5 miles of the Hesco-basket barrier wall.
The wall consists of about 1,000 sections, each consisting of five linked baskets that are then filled with sand. The engineers have been assembling an average of 300 sections a day.
"Our expectation for this barrier wall is for it to protect the marshlands directly behind it," said 2nd Lt. Paul D. Mounts, platoon leader with the 928th Sapper Company, 769th Engineer Battalion. "The marshlands are a home to nesting grounds for many different bird and animal species."
"We've been working very hard, filling each basket with as much sand as we can every day," said Spc. Thomas G. Webb, a heavy equipment operator with the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company. "We've had good training, good operating, and I believe we've accomplished a lot since we began working."
The National Guard has been receiving help and support from BP and other civilian contract workers.
"The operations have been pretty smooth, especially with the help we've been getting," said Mounts, a native of Zachary, La. "They've been spot on with our needs, whether it be billeting, food, or supplies."
"As long as we get missions, we will continue to work hard to get them done," said Webb.
Also, the 769th Engineer Battalion and the State Aviation Command completed sandbag drop operations in the vicinity of Trinity Island on May 27, filling a 115-foot area.
Their mission was to emplace 115-feet of 2,000-pound sandbags in the vicinity of Trinity Island in order to fill in a low-lying area critical to oil spill mitigation efforts along Louisiana's shoreline.
Inclement weather impacted their progress, but the Guardsmen were able to complete the project in less than two days.
"I feel great about helping the parish and helping protect this marshy area," said Capt. Jeffrey L. Giering, commander of the 928th Sapper Company. "Our Soldiers, with the support of aviation command, stepped it up and protected the area."
Nearly 1,400 National Guard Soldiers have been activated to assist in oil-related clean-up since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank April 20.