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
Texas national Guard Soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey 

Houston, TX United States

08.28.2017

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

AUSTIN, TX, UNITED STATES

08.28.2017

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

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

08.28.2017

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

PORT ARANSAS, TX, UNITED STATES

08.28.2017

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).

Texas National Guard Night Rescues - Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

08.28.2017

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 Texas National Guard rescue operations

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

08.27.2017

Video by 1st Lt. Zachary West

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

Footage of Texas National Guard soldiers conducting rescue operations in heavily flooded areas near Houston, Texas. The entire Texas National Guard has been called up in response to Harvey. 
Video by 1LT Zachary West, 100th MPAD)

Hurricane Harvey B-Roll 25 AUG

VICTORIA, TX, UNITED STATES

08.25.2017

Video by Sgt. Samuel De Leon

Texas Army National Guard (Texas Military Forces)

 

General B-Roll of Texas Guardsmen from the 176th Engineer Brigade, partnered with emergency first responders from Texas task Force One preparing for Hurricane Harvey to hit the Texas coast, Victoria, Texas, August 25, 2017.

Texas Soldiers prepare for Hurricane Harvey

BRYAN, TX, UNITED STATES

08.25.2017

Video by Sgt. Daisy Broker

72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (36th ID, TXARNG)

 

Texas Army National Guard Soldiers joined members of a Texas Task Force One Swift Water Rescue Team for interoperability training leading up to Hurricane Harvey, in Bryan, Texas, August 25, 2017. Training included loading and unloading Zodiac boats, use and recovery of throw bags, and the utilization of life vests and other safety equipment. Members of the Texas Army National Guard are being mobilized across the state as part of hurricane response operations.

Texas flying squadron celebrates 100th Anniversary

Photo By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez | The 111th Attack Squadron at Ellington Field, Texas, celebrates their 100th anniversary on August 12, 2017 at Ellington Field, Texas. The 147th Reconnaissance Wing was also redesignated to the 147th Attack Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez)
Photo By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez | The 111th Attack Squadron at Ellington Field, Texas, celebrates their 100th anniversary on August 12, 2017 at Ellington Field, Texas. The 147th Reconnaissance Wing was also redesignated to the 147th Attack Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez)

08.22.2017

Story by: Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez

The 111th Attack squadron, known as the Ace-in-the-Hole Squadron, is the flying unit assigned to the 147th Attack Wing.

The ceremony included guest speaker Maj. General John F. Nichols, Adjutant General of the TXANG and a flag furling and unfurling ceremony.

“This was a great occasion to be a part of. It marks a powerful milestone for the fine men and women of the 147th Attack Wing.” said Maj. General David McMinn, commander of the Texas Air National Guard. “I am proud of the great Airmen here for their dedication to the mission and their great work.”

The flag furling and unfurling ceremony revealed the redesignation of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing to the 147th ATKW and was performed by Col. Gary D. Jones, commander of the 147th ATKW. 

“For a century the men and women of the 111th have proudly answered the call to arms for our nation in times of war, and rendered aid to our fellow Texans in times of crisis. These are duties that the Aces hold sacred and when called upon we will continue to perform them with pride. As our MQ-1 mission comes to a close and we begin a new century of Texas airpower, we are preparing for our conversion to the MQ-9 Reaper,” said Lt. Col. David Peck, commander of the 111th Attack Squadron. “We are grateful to the Aces that have come before us and paved the way, and we are committed to serving our nation and the great state of Texas with distinction.”

The redesignation comes after the wing received a new aircraft, the MQ-9 Reaper in place of their previous MQ-1 Predator.

The ceremony was concluded with a C-130 jump exercise from members of the 147th Air Support Operations