Hurricane Harvey Relief

TX, UNITED STATES

09.04.2017

Video by Staff Sgt. Rion Ehrman

Air Force Public Affairs Agency

 

A Chemical Emergency Response Force Package comprised of Texas Air National Guard Airmen with the 149th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio, and Texas National Guard Soldiers, Fort Worth, with the 949th Brigade Support Battalion combined to set up this field hospital in the parking lot of the Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Beaumont as the hospital was only taking medical emergencies due to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force Video by SSgt Rion Ehrman)

1-143 Infantry Regiment, Airborne Battalion

PORT ARTHUR, TX, UNITED STATES

09.03.2017

Video by Spc. Austin Boucher

55th Combat Camera

 

U.S. Army Spc. Sergio Villarreal, 1-143 Infantry Regiment, Airborne Battalion, discuesses medical operations in Port Arthur, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017. Both the U.S. Military and civilian volunteers are working together to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey. (U.S. Army video by Spc. Austin T. Boucher)

Hurricane Harvey Relief

TX, UNITED STATES

09.03.2017

Video by Staff Sgt. Rion Ehrman

Air Force Public Affairs Agency

 

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 551st Multi-Role Bridge Company, El Campo, Texas, search flooded Beaumont, Texas neighborhoods, Sept. 3, 2017, for civilians after Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force video by SSgt Rion Ehrman)

Citizen Soldiers support and supply in Hurricane Harvey effort

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Photo By Sgt. Jazmin Jenkins | Soldiers from the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade unload pallets of water from a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) semi-truck at Houston Exective Airport in Katy, Texas to be distributed to Hurricane Harvey victims Sept. 3, 2017. The Department of Defense is conducting Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations in response to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. DSCA operations are part of the DOD's response capability to assist civilian responders in saving lives, relieving human suffering and mitigating property damage in response to a catastrophic disaster. (U.S. Army photo by: Sgt. Jazmin Jenkins / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

KATY, TX, UNITED STATES

09.03.2017

Story by Sgt. Jazmin Jenkins

22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

KATY, Texas - Six forklifts manned by Texas Army National Guardsmen line up outside of a hangar at a small airport just outside of Houston awaiting the next semi-truck filled with supplies to offload. Although most of the forklift operators are not logisticians by trade, they are combining skills earned working for the military and in the civilian sector to accomplish the mission. 

First Lieutenant Tim Dubose, an intelligence officer with 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, volunteered to manage a shipping and receiving site for distributing supplies based on his 10-years of civilian experience as a project manager. 

The mission of Dubose’s Austin-based unit is to support Texas Army National Guard disaster recovery operations by getting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplies to distribution points using helicopters.

Dubose said that no mission within the specialty for which the military trained him existed for hurricane relief operations. However, the leadership skills taught to all Army officers, paired with his civilian credentials, made his selection for a leadership position at a logistics hub in the recovery efforts a natural one.

"I was selected to be in an (officer in charge) position,” said Dubose. “When I arrived at Houston Executive Airport, there was a need for logistical problem set." 

He used the project management skills required in his civilian job experience to synergize a team of Soldiers sent from around the United States to efficiently deliver supplies at the FEMA distribution site established at the airport. 

One of the people working for Dubose is Pfc. Matthew Riffe, a generator mechanic with 36th CAB, based out of Austin, Texas. Like Dubose, the 22-year old is using a combination of skills learned in the military and in his civilian job to ensure mission success. Riffe works in logistics shipping and receiving coordinator in his civilian occupation and has six years of forklift experience. 

"I volunteered to man the forklift because they were short-handed and I have the experience and skillset to contribute to the mission," said Riffe.

FEMA brings life sustaining supplies to be distributed by the military to the Houston Executive Airport for Hurricane Harvey victims. Soldiers with 36th CAB off-load and inventory those supplies. Afterwards the supplies are palletized and organized to fit inside the dimensions of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. 

Dubose said one of the most important skills he’s using from his civilian job is proper communication between teammates and managing resources effectively. Additionally, his experience in acquisitions aligns with the mission at the distribution site. 

"Flight operations identifies specific supplies to go on the necessary aircraft by customer demand," said Dubose. "We fill that order by loading the supplies in the aircraft, then make sure we track and inventory afterwards." 

The FEMA distribution site at Houston Executive Airport is one of the major hubs re-supplying areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. The site has delivered an average of 25 tons of supplies per day since operations began on Aug. 31. 

Thousands of people along the U.S. Gulf Coast were affected by Hurricane Harvey. The efforts to relieve those in need involves Soldiers and necessary skills to accomplish the mission.

“This is an important mission to be a part of,” said Dubose. “We have all come together and used all of our skills to get the job done."

B-Roll Texas Military Forces POD Victoria TX 170903

VICTORIA, TX, UNITED STATES

09.02.2017

Video by Sgt. Daisy Broker

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

 

Service members with the Texas Army National Guard and State Guard along side volunteers from neighboring cities hand out meals, ice, and water to victims of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Victoria, TX. 

Although the Cities water and sewer systems are working, the water is not potable per the
Texas Commission of Environmental Quality or TCEQ as of September 5th, 2017. The TECQ is the deciding authority that determines whether or not Texas’s water is okay to drink.

President Donald Trump visits Ellington Field

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

09.02.2017

Video by Senior Airman Renee Crugnale

147th Attack Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

 

General Joseph Lengyel, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, arrived at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base today. The General talked with base leadership then departed in a Blackhawk to assess flood affected areas of Texas.

POTUS Arrives, Departs Ellington Field

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

09.02.2017

Video by Tech. Sgt. Mindy Bloem

147th Attack Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

 

President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston Sept. 2, 2017. Following his departure, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took time to thank military members for their recovery efforts following the devastation caused by Harvey.

Clean water for Texas

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Photo By Capt. Martha Nigrelle | Texas Army National Guard, Capt. Amber Luecke, 71st enhanced Military Intelligence Brigade, mans the ice point at a the Point of Distribution (POD) where locals received clean water, ice and food in Victoria, Texas, Sept. 2, 2017. Texas Guardsmen set up numerous PODs in areas like Victoria, to ensure residents maintained access to clean water, as they worked to recover from the effects of the hurricane. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Martha Nigrelle)

VICTORIA, TX, UNITED STATES

09.02.2017

Story by Capt. Martha Nigrelle

Texas Military Department

 

VICTORIA, Texas – Soldiers from the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas State Guard handed out cases of bottled water, bags of ice and bags of food to locals still suffering the effects of Hurricane Harvey, in Victoria, Texas, Sept. 2, 2017.

One week after Harvey passed directly over Victoria, the town was still without clean drinking water.

As the rain finally subsided, and the Texas sun returned, temperatures raised into the 90’s. Thankfully, in Victoria, workers were able to restore the electricity, but potable water still wasn’t there.

“I came here to help people,” said a seven-year old volunteer who said she traveled with her parents from out of town to lend a hand to neighbors in need.

A large team of volunteers helped Guardsmen pass out the water, ice and food as Victoria residents drove through their Point of Distribution, located at the town’s community center. 

Despite the high temperature, and the glaring Texas sun, both Guardsmen and volunteers appeared to remain in high spirits, smiling at every person coming through their POD and making sure each family had the water, ice and food they needed.

Many of the families coming through the POD appeared to also be in high spirits, as bright smiles were passed to volunteers and soldiers with messages of gratitude.

“Thank you, thank you for what you are doing,” said one man. “God Bless you for being here.”

The POD had a simple and efficient set up. Soldiers were stationed at the community center’s parking lot entrance and exit to direct vehicles to the line. 

Upon approaching the POD, the line split in two. On either side, residents were greeted with a smile, by a soldier who explained to them how the operation worked.

Next step, the food stop. Here, residents may be greeted with not only a smile, but the adorable face of one of the younger volunteers as they received however many rations needed.

Moving onto the ice station, a Guardsman would inquire as to how many bags of ice, before signaling the ice team. As the car approached the ice station, soldiers and volunteers would be ready with the amount needed and load them into their vehicle.

Same process for the water.

Last, upon leaving, another smile and a goodbye. 

The operation had both military efficiency and a true Texas spirit.

“We’ve served more than 1,000 families in just three hours today,” said Texas National Guard Capt. Amber Luecke, 71st Enhanced Military Intelligence Brigade.

This group of Guardsmen and volunteers appeared to make every effort possible to make a difficult situation easier for their customers. While they worked on the black pavement in the heat of a late Texas summer, they ensured their customers stayed inside air-conditioned vehicles, with soldiers and volunteers doing any picking up, delivering and loading needed.

“We are here to help our communities,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Hamilton, Commander of the Dual Status Command for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. “Helping our neighbors when they need us most is the heart of the Guard, and why we choose to become citizen-soldiers and airmen.”

This same sentiment appeared to be with the soldiers at the Victoria Community Center POD.

“Texas needed help, so we came out here,” said Luecke.

Texas Guardsmen are conducting stability operations throughout south Texas in many of the areas affected by the hurricane, running numerous PODs, shelters and supporting the rebuilding process.

1-143 Infantry Regiment, Airborne Battalion, Assist with Medical, Rescue and Recovery Operations

ORANGE, TX, UNITED STATES

09.02.2017

Video by Spc. Austin Boucher

55th Combat Camera

 

Soldiers of the 1-143 Infantry Regiment, Airborne Battalion, assist with rescue and recovery operations in Orange, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017. Both the U.S. Military and civilian volunteers are working together to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey. (U.S. Army video by Spc. Austin T. Boucher)

Local Community’s Generosity and Compassion for our deployed Guardsmen

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Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard Service Members pick up shampoo, soap, and other sundries donated to them by the people of Katy, Texas.  Residents of Katy wanted to show their appreciation to the guardsmen who were being deployed to assist the thousands of Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  (Texas State Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Illich)

Commentary by: Staff Sgt. Gregory Illich, Texas State Guard Public Affairs

 

KATY, Texas - When townspeople learned that thousands of service men and women were passing through Katy and using Katy High School as a staging area before deploying to areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey, local people began showing up to help any way they could.

Individuals drove up with hastily collected supplies of water, Gatorade, toiletries, snacks and other sundries.  Local restaurants brought hot food to serve to the troops, including breakfast kolaches, barbecue, gumbo, shrimp Alfredo, chicken breasts and hamburgers. It was amazing!

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Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard Service Members pick up shampoo, soap, and other sundries donated to them by the people of Katy, Texas.  Residents of Katy wanted to show their appreciation to the guardsmen who were being deployed to assist the thousands of Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  (Texas State Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Illich)

Within days, a constant stream of cars pulling up to the school entry had delivered a significant amount of supplies into the school lobby. Like so many other Texans, everyone was pulling together to help their families, friends and complete strangers. Some of these generous people were helping others even though they too had property flooded and destroyed by the storm. Their charity and generosity was truly humbling. Word quickly spread that some Soldiers were sleeping on the floors in the hallways of the school. Scores of pillows, blankets, air mattresses and air pumps appeared in a few hours. The extra comfort for the service members was much appreciated.

Dozens of volunteers even arrived to help distribute and organize the donation efforts.  They also compiled lists of the specific needs of the service members staged there.  Many deployed units were at the high school only for a short time before moving out to their next assignment. As troops cycled through, these strangers replenished their supplies from the donations that kept coming in.

During a break, two Texas State Guardsmen went to a barbershop to get a trim as their hair had grown out during deployment.  While they waited, another customer paid for both of them to have haircuts without them knowing.  She approached the two Service Members, shook their hands and thanked them for the work we were doing.  

Later, some other Texas State Guardsmen joined a Texas National Guardsman for dinner at one of the nearby restaurants that had recently re-opened.  A grateful customer paid for our meal.  He introduced himself and shared that his house had flooded with three or four inches of water.  Despite his loss, he extended his generosity to them in appreciation of their efforts and those of other guardsmen who were helping his flood-stricken neighborhood.

I was one of those Texas State Guardsman working in the field. To say the least, I was humbled by the compassion and generosity that strangers extended to us while many of them, themselves, and their neighbors were in such need. This is the spirit of Texas and Texans helping Texans indeed and for this I am proud.