Posts From August, 2017

Texas State Guard receives watercraft



Courtesy Video

Texas Military Department


Texas State Guard TMAR offloads watercraft in preparation for rescue missions. Video by Rachel G Sarabia

Texas Army National Guard Soldiers Rescue Residents of Flooded Areas



Video by Maj. Randall Stillinger

36th Infantry Division (TXARNG)


Soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard drive the streets of Katy, Texas rescuing residents who are stranded by the flood. The Soldiers are part of the 5,000 that are currently working in and around the Houston area as part of the response to Hurricane Harvey. 7,000 more Texas National Guard Soldiers are mobilizing and will be deployed to the affected areas as needed. Video and production by 1st Lt. Zach West.

Texas National Guard, partners and neighbors rescue 1,000 from floods

Photo By Capt. Martha Nigrelle | Texas Guardsmen from the 386th Engineer Battalion partnered with first responders from Texas Task Force One and the Cypress Creek Fire Department move residents from severely flooded neighborhoods to safety days after Hurricane Harvey hit south Texas, August 28, 2017, Cypress Creek, Texas. The team of Soldiers, Firefighters and rescue swimmers, paired with local volunteers and rescued more than 1,000 people and hundreds of dogs and cats, bringing them to dry ground. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Martha Nigrelle) 



Story by Capt. Martha Nigrelle

Texas Military Department


CYPRESS CREEK, Texas – Texas National Guardsmen from the 386th Engineer Battalion teamed up with Texas Task Force 1 and the Cypress Creek Fire Department, bringing 1,000 Cypress Creek residents from high-rising waters to safety, just days after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas shores, August 28, 2016.

As heavy rains fell over the city, water levels continued to rise to dangerous and historic levels – some areas seeing more than five feet of flooding.

The flooding appeared to be the worst in a handful of sub-divisions. 

“Today was a day no one ever thought they’d see,” said Pfc. Adelisa Fuentes, 386th Engineer Battalion. “There was water rising up to your hips and the further the road went, the deeper the flood was.”

Texas Guardsmen equipped with swift-water vehicles and their partners, equipped with boats set out to help the many people in danger.

Swift water vehicles can safely move through approximately 30 inches of water. Texas Guardsmen took their trucks as far as they could before dismounting Task Force boats.

First responders used boats to go through entire neighborhoods, bringing all those in danger to safety.

“This is what we train for,” said Texas Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Hamilton, Dual Status Commander for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts. “And we’re proud to stand beside our civilian partners, first responders and volunteers to serve the citizens of Texas.” 

It isn’t uncommon to find National Guardsmen working or training alongside emergency first responders – it’s a part of their mission. 

Texas Guardsmen train year-round with partner first responders like Texas Task Force One, so that when a disaster occurs in Texas, they are prepared.

“This is Texans helping Texans – neighbors helping neighbors,” Hamilton said. “While we don’t want to have to put our training to the test during a tragedy, our citizen-guardsmen remain prepared to help save lives and property, when called.” 

The team of Soldiers and first responders took on a new dynamic in the wake of Hurricane Harvey as local residents stopped to help. 

Those owning boats or jet skis, used them to assist in transporting victims to safety. Others brought water and helped transfer people and equipment onto the National Guard vehicles. 

“Watching others bring victims to safety into our LMTVs showed how much heart people really have and that they don’t just depend on us to do the work alone,” said Fuentes. “All help is worth a hand in a time of need.”

One man even cooked a platter of chicken, wading into water three feet deep in order to feed both Soldiers and volunteers – a much welcomed surprise as most appeared to work through lunch without stopping.

Dogs, cats and even a lucky stuffed iguana were passed from boats to Soldiers, followed by their owners and the residents of the neighborhoods suffering from severe flooding. 

Emotions were varied, some were in high spirits while others seemed overwhelmed by their new reality.

One woman had spent the previous day as an EMT rescuing people all over the city from flooding. 

“You never think you’re going to be the victim,” she said. “Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

After six hours of wading through deep waters, Soldiers and partner first responders, ensuring everyone who needed help was safe, began to pack up.

Despite the long hours and poor weather conditions, the Soldiers all appeared to be energized, focused and in good spirits.

“Nothing is more important to our Guardsmen than the chance to serve their local community.” Hamilton said. “Helping our neighbors when they need us most is the heart of The Guard, and why we choose to become Citizen Soldiers and Airmen.”

One Texas Guardsman on scene, felt the same way.

“I am so glad I was able to be there to help my fellow Texans get to safety from their flooded homes,” said Fuentes. “It’s heartbreaking, but everyone is safe.”

Harvey B Roll 3



Video by Sgt. Samuel DeLeon

Texas Army National Guard (Texas Military Forces)


Engineers from the 551st MRBC (Multi-Roll Bridge Company); 176th Engineer Brigade; Texas Military Department get boats in the water to conduct rescue missions in Houston.

176 Engineers Prep Boats



Video by Sgt. Samuel DeLeon

Texas Army National Guard (Texas Military Forces)


Soldiers from the 176th Engineer Brigade are preparing their boats for rescue missions in Houston due to floods caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey Response Operations



Video by Tech. Sgt. Karl Schwach

National Guard Bureau


Texas National Guard soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 
(Video by: Staff Sgt. Tim Pruitt)

Courtesy: Texas Military Department

Joint military and civilian team rescues more than 170 people from Hurricane Harvey using ground and air assets

Texas national Guard Soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey 

Houston, TX United States


Story by Staff Sgt. Timothy Pruitt, Texas State Guard


HOUSTON – A team of Texas Guardsmen, swift-water rescue technicians and Harris County Sheriff deputies worked together as a hybrid rescue team to rescue and air-lift multiple people from severe flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, to safe locations, in northeast Houston, August, 28, 2017.

Soldiers from the Texas National Guard’s 272nd Engineer Battalion and a swift-water rescue team from Texas Task Force 1 arrived in a severely flooded neighborhood after being dispatched to an area cut off by flood waters with approximately 50 victims that needed evacuating.  Upon arriving at the designated location, a small church, they found more than 80 people at the church and another 60 at the gas station next door. 

“When we first got the call the information we were given was that there was a request of 50 people that needed to be evacuated, when we arrived that number more than doubled,” said David Holly, Texas Task Force 1 swift-water rescue technician.

The pastor of the church said he had several people needing medical attention.

There were 18 patients, some on oxygen, some dialysis patients, others with deficits from past or chronic conditions and even some with mental handicaps, all needing medical attention.

With the severity of the medical needs of those patients, the Task Force 1 paramedics decided it would be safer to evacuate the patients by air, due to the rising water in the area.

The team setup a landing zone for the aerial pickup and radioed in for an air evacuation. While waiting for the helicopters the task force heard there were people trapped in the adjacent neighborhood. 

Using a Texas National Guard high-profile vehicle, they launched their zodiac boats and searched the neighborhood for victims.

“I thought it was pretty cool that we are able to provide transportation to the task force,” said Texas National Guard Sgt. Janna Bergeron, 272nd Engineer Battalion.  “We give them the ability to be able to perform these types of missions.”

The team rescued 30 people from that neighborhood, bringing the total number of victims to 170 needing evacuation.

Within an hour, three U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopters from the Dusty Dogs Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron, arrived and took turns landing to pick up and evacuated the flood victims with special medical needs.

During this process, the flood waters continued to rise, making vehicle extraction more dangerous.

To ensure the safety of each flood victim, the joint team continued to evacuate all of their victims by air.

 While the Task Force team prepared the victims for evacuation, Texas Guardsmen helped secure the area for the arriving helicopters.

First responders say that this type of joint-teamwork is what is helping save lives.

“It is hard being in a situation knowing we could help everyone but not knowing if we would have time to get them all due to the rising flood waters,” Texas National Guard 2nd Lt. Joseph Fiasco, 272nd Engineer Battalion. “It was amazing that we had the aerial support to come in and get the victims.”

These types of missions show the effectiveness of teamwork to be able to rescue high numbers of people in need. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, more than 12,000 Texas Guardsmen joined first responders from partner local, state and federal agencies, as well as, other military components, to rescue thousands of Texans in need.

Gen Joseph L. Lengyel and Major General John Nichols - Harvey Update



Video by Sgt. Kyle Burns

Texas Military Department


Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen Joseph L. Lengyel and Adjutant General of Texas, Major General John Nichols give an update on operations in response to Harvey and what the future holds.

Texas National Guard Night Rescues - Hurricane Harvey



Video by Sgt. Samuel De Leon

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


Texas National Guard soldiers conduct night rescue operations in flooded areas around Texas after devastation caused by Harvey. Video by Sgt. Sam DeLeon

Hurricane Harvey Aftermath Rockport, Texas area



Video by John Thibodeau

Texas Military Department


B-Roll Footage of Hurricane Harvey damage in and around Port Aransas and Rockport, Texas, August 28, 2017. (U.S. National Guard video by John Thibodeau).