Georgia Guardsmen Deploy to Gulf Coast - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/31/05

Georgia Guardsmen Deploy to Gulf Coast

Troops from our area are deploying to lend a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This afternoon, more than two dozen soldiers from the Georgia Army Guard left from Hunter Army Airfield. There are a lot of people who need help in the gulf region, so half are going to Mississippi and the other half are going to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

They loaded up Chinook helicopters with equipment, getting ready to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by the hurricane. Guardsmen say they have no idea what kind of situation they'll be flying into. 

"All we were told is be prepared for two weeks," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Barnard.

What they're preparing for could be just about anything.

"From every facet imaginable, as far as the relief effort that's going on rescuing people, while trying to set up the infrastructure," said CW3 Charlie Woodward. "Basically keep people alive, stop the flooding, there's all kinds of efforts going on."

Capable of dealing with all sorts of situations, these guardsmen say the mission they're about to embark on is by far one of the most devastating they've ever heard of. "Flood relief, fires and that sort of thing, but on this scale it's probably the biggest thing we've seen," said Woodward.

But until they arrive, they won't know exactly what they're being called to do, just getting there could put their own lives at risk.

"The main part will be power lines and the unknown, what you'll be landing on," said Barnard.

Despite the dangers they might encounter, they're ready to do whatever it takes to help those who desperately need it. These soldiers are expected to return in about two weeks, but they could end up staying longer depending on the damage.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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