Hurricane Dean Deployment
COL Mike Provost
On 16 August 2007 at 0830 Texas State Guard commanders received an e-mail from J-3, Plans & Operations Officer, HQ TXSG. The tasking was to for 300 Texas State Guardsman to report to Camp Swift and be trained by the Texas Air National Guard to drive school buses to transport coastal evacuees to shelters, should hurricane Dean hit the Texas coast. The plan was to for TXSG drivers to utilize school district buses to move evacuees to a major shelter hub, either in San Antonio or Dallas. HQTXSG was to stand up an Emergency Operations Center on 20 August.
On 17 August 2007 a second message was sent by to TXSG commanders. The tasking was to call up additional shelter management personnel and Air Division communications personnel to support the operation. Medical Brigade personnel were tasked to deploy their teams to support reception and shelter operations. On 20 August 2007 a third message was sent to call up all available Texas State Guard personnel for shelter management duty and send those personnel to Laredo immediately. The Commanders of 1st Regiment and the 39th Regiment were tasked to be the Shelter Management Operations OIC’s.
The Texas Army National Guard was tasked to provide logistic support for bus training operations and assist with State mandated evacuation operations. The Texas Air National Guard was tasked to deploy Air Evacuation Operations Teams and a Mega Shelter Support Team. This joint task force operation moved quickly to Weslaco, McAllen, Laredo and San Antonio to prepare to evacuate and shelter fellow Texans from the possible devastation of hurricane Dean. This massive operation included hundreds of military personnel, over 1,000 buses and many military vehicles. This was the largest deployment of Texas State Guard personnel in recent memory.
Fortunately for Texas, hurricane Dean changed course and evacuation was not necessary but all who participated can be proud of the Texas Military Forces. They were ready, willing and able to evacuate and shelter over 100,000 of their fellow Texans.