IKE showed its massive fury
Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada
2008/09/13

Task Force IKE pulls out headed for the aftermath of hurricane IKE. The Texas State Guard Medical Brigade was included in the convoy.Photo by MAJ Michael Spraggins
Task Force IKE pulls out headed for the aftermath of hurricane IKE. The Texas State Guard Medical Brigade was included in the convoy.Photo by MAJ Michael Spraggins

CAMP MABRY, Austin, Texas (Sep 13, 2008) - IKE came ashore as a thief in the night in Galveston Bay Saturday and revealed its destruction during the early morning rays.

In response at around eight o’clock this morning a massive inter-agency convoy joined forces in South-East Texas with others already in the area to start a search and rescue mission that surpassed anything ever done in Texas before.

Military vehicles and personnel could be seen barreling down the road as far as the eye could see and as soon as weather cleared the helicopters launched to start their mission.

Throughout the day, the States massive efforts were focused on rescuing folks in low lying areas. Since Governor Rick Perry activated the Texas Military Forces earlier this week and up to 7,500 Soldiers and Airmen did what they do best - prepare for a storm.

In the recent past, Texas Military Forces personnel have responded to Dolly, Edouard, Gustav and now IKE; with IKE dwarfing all those that went before him.

The Adjutant General Lt. Gen. (TX) Charles G. Rodriguez, visited with his troops just before they launched for Galveston, as part of Task Force IKE.Photo by MAJ Michael Spraggins
The Adjutant General Lt. Gen. (TX) Charles G. Rodriguez, visited with his troops just before they launched for Galveston, as part of Task Force IKE.Photo by MAJ Michael Spraggins

Texas Army National Guard, DPS and Coast Guard aviators flew all day long to get Texans to dry ground. Air hubs were set up at Houston Hobby, Ellington Air Field, in Victoria and Galveston. Those rescued were happy to feel dry ground under their feet at Texas City High School and South-East Regional Airport.

Early reports indicate that many Texans had the ride of their lives either via a hoist, net or bambi bucket. Bolivar Peninsula saw the most rescues but was closely followed by High Island. By mid-morning the number of rescued reached the hundred mark and by the end of the day 379 people had been rescued.

The Adjutant General Lt. Gen. (TX) Charles G. Rodriguez, visited with his troops this morning just before they launched for Galveston and Master Sgt. Harold Vroman from the 736th CRC, 36 Infantry Division, said: “It makes me feel good to help the people in need,” a typical Texas response to a disaster.

Photo of baby provided by Fox, News New York
Photo provided by Fox, News New York

A tiny wonder, in the form of a baby being born in one of the shelters, was one of the miracles observed today when Staff Sgt. David Ellison from the Texas State Guard, Texas Maritime Regiment (TMR) assisted with the birth. Sergeant Ellison is a former Marine and in charge of the shelter. Chaplain Keith Rice also a member of the Texas State Guard, accompanied mom and daughter to the hospital and later delivered flowers and a teddy bear named IKE. Both mother and child are doing fine.

Next stop for member of the Texas Military Forces: clearing trees and debris and making sure that the folks who are digging out from under a pile of debris have the tools to do so. We’ll be there when you get thirsty or hungry.