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Old 09-16-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
Mike Malloy
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Location: Santa Clara   Ca
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Written by a friend. Sorry for the acronyms will edit later if needed.

My chest is fairly bursting with pride as I write this so please excuse me if I am overly exuberent. I am, Justifiably proud of the contributions of Special Tactics (STS)and Rescue Squadrons (RQS) in the Katrina Relief effort. I read TE's posts on the Operators in the News section but can't figure out how to post there. Here is the story:

ALL Air National Guard (ANG) STS and RQS worked together in New Orleans for the Katrina Relief Effort and NOBODY made more of a difference and never has the combination of Pararescue (PJ) and Combat Controllers (CCT) made more sense or demonstrated it's full capability.
Here's how it went down:
30 Aug 123 STS requsts Kentucky Joint Operations Center (KY JOC) release them to perform ops in New Orleans but told not to expect release as Luisiana has asked for no help.

31 Aug 123 STS begins assembling preliminary teams and loading out gear. 90 mins later they get the call to go. Painful delays with Aerial Port keep them on the ground for a while but off the first guys go. Within an hour of arriving at Naval Air Station New Orleans, 2 PJs and 2 Controllers are integrating into the command structure and assessing the situation. One PJ begins flying Rescue missions with Coast Guard helo while one CCT flies in Army Helo to identify potential Helicopter Landing Zone (HLZs), boat put in points, survivor assembly areas, and to get an overview of the entire situation.
3 hours later second wave of PJs and CCT from 123 STS arrive. They ask for more RQS and STS help. 123 STS Specialtactics Operations Center (STOC) in Louisville (that's where I was)coordinates with KY, CA, AK, OR and LA JOCs to get the help.

1 Sept 4 Portland STS CCT guys and 5 Alaska Pararescuemen (PJ's) arrive Louisville for staging into Naval Air Station (NAS N.O.). 123 STS in NAS NO begins running 4 boat teams and multiple HLZs.
2 Sept Portland and Alaska guys arrive and open more HLZs and send out more Boat Teams. CA flies directly in with a ton of boats and trucks/trailers.
3-7 Sept 12 boat teams multiple and mobile HLZs. NY PJs fly over from Mississippi to work with rest of Guard boat teams. Every Guard STS and RQS is now working together in New Orleans-a first to the best of my knowledge or anyone elses.

8 Sept Rescues handed off to Civil Authorities as numbers of evacuees drops to virtually nothing and no boat saves are made.

Total numbers for ANG:
Helo Saves 620ish (don't have the numbers front of me)

Ground Saves 86
Boat Saves 1200
HELO Evacs 11,911
HLZ sorties 3,179

What the stats don't reveal is that the great combination of PJ CCT Boats and mobile HLZs speeded the evacuation and recovery of thousands. Nobody can say how much faster the Helos could get to people because of ATC or how many accidents were avoided. Nobody can say how many lives were saved by mobile teams going into the heart of stricken areas to talk people out of their homes, treat them if necessary and get them to an HLZ. Before the arrival of STS/RQS thousands were pulled from the waters but languishing on high ground with limited food and water and no way to get to difinitive health care or out of the city. Thanks to the dynamic and uniques capabilities of CCT and Pararescue nearly 12,000 people were given food and water and rushed to shelter and sped along the road to recovery days or weeks sooner than FEMA and other civil authorities were capable of on their own. An example is Clover HLZ, the overpass you may have seen on the news where 7,000 people languished for 5 days. It was evacuated by our teams in one long day, a long night and a busy morning. Not only did the teams evacuate large popluations of evacuees, PJ and CCT teams would drive up in boats, find concentrations of survivors at hospitals, old folks homes etc and treat the people there then set up an HLZ on the roof to evacuate them directly to Medical Care at the air port. They cut down telephone poles, light poles and other obstructions, painted the HLZ coordinates and freq on the ground/roof then got on the Command and Control Net to get evac choppers inbound. They calmed, assessed, treated and moved the needy. The elimination of ground transportation sped the evacuation by days and limited stress on limited infrastructure.
NOBODY can offer this combination of Locating, Recovering, Medically Assessing, Treating, and Evacuating people that STS offers. NOBODY!!!
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:13 PM   #2
Rick Burgess
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Awesome job! As frustrating as it was to sit and watch the sniping and griping and finger pointing, it was inspiring to see how the armed services responded. Coast Guard, Navy, Army/National Guard, Air Force/Air National Guard, many service members played a part and did an absolutely fantastic job. I'm more familiar with the Seabees' role (being a Seabee myself), and I can tell you that it's humbling to hear the stories of what they are doing in the Gulfport/Greater New Orleans area -- and many of them lost their own houses and possessions in the storm. The dedication and professionalism of these men and women is amazing! Add to that the response by so many public safety professionals, and I think you see America at its best.
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:56 PM   #3
Ed Ryan
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Location: Elkhart  Indiana
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HOO-YAH!!!!}
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