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Friday, September 02, 2005

Why couldn't we preposition troops? 
This is why.

There are a lot of idiots out there harping on Louisiana and even the President for not moving vehicles and soldiers into harm's way ahead of the storm.

This, too, is asininity. It's in the frigging Delta! Where in the world are you going to stage enough trucks to support a brigade(-) or even a strong battalion? In a big clearing somewhere? Inside a stadium? No. You need the stadium to shelter citizens. How will you keep the vehicles from being damaged or destroyed by the wind, nevermind the flooding? What if you miscalculate your timetable, and a Cat IV storm hits with your support battalion strung out on the road in a hundred desperately needed vehicles?

You risk losing your whole element, as this picture definitively shows. You gonna send troops into that?

That is why, when Hurricane Jeanne and Francis threatened the Space Coast of Florida, the 1-124th infantry went through a terrific effort mobilizing soldiers early, and taking them away from their own families and homes, to drive as many vehicles as we could OUT of the threatened area, and into Miami, which was comparably safe. Standard procedure in the Florida Guard, and we've been through this a few times. We then drove BACK IN through the tail end of the storm, through 40 mph wind and driving rain, to get from Miami/Palm Beach back up north to Indian River County and Vero Beach to be on site as soon as people left their homes.

We were ONLY successful, though, in that instance, because I-95 was still trafficable. I-10 I understand is washed out, preventing lateral movement. So even if you did preposition a unit, then what was left of them could not be supported, and they would be in no shape to operate effectively afterwards, anyway.

Trying to stage troops in the path of a Cat 4 Hurricane in a punchbowl is fucking stupid.

But stupid people have all the airtime, these days.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
I worked the rescue boats on Wednesday. At the end of the day I was told that unless I was under contract to a federal agency I would not be allowed back in. I'm a reservist,1SG, and I called myself to active duty, put on my uniform and bluffed my way into the water. I organized crews of boats with local guides, EMTs and armed LE. We had crews shuttling people between the levies. Most of the big boats were unable to cross the Orleans Canal and Bayou ST John north of 610. Airboats crossed but couldn't penetrate the neighborhoods because of low powerlines. We crossed small boats but if you put a boatman and two LE in a small boat then you only have room for 3-4 refugees. We tried to cross Orleans canal south of 610 but were blocked by the railroad. We could see that if we put a backhoe or cherrypicker on the tracks west of Metarie in the unflooded area and drove down to the Orleans canal we could cross big boats. 20 Pax boats. The guys on scene thought that it was a great idea. But I had to clear it with Mike Brown. You know in the ARMY as a 1SG I don't wait to clear stuff with Rummy. And even if I were operating outside my BN area any officer who sees an Airborne Ranger, combat vetern of the 82nd, with a 5 20 foot boats and 12 14-16 footers, 16 uniformed members of the OPSD SWAT team who suggests a better way it gets passed up the chain of command. And something happens. But here everyone at the boat launch at 1700, out of the water at 1800. I helped the State Police carry their boats across the railroad tracks at the Orleans Canal Pumping Station at 610. It was only 1630 and they knew of over 200 women and children at Morris Jeff Elem off Toulose Street but they would have to spend another night there because it was too dangerous. Gunfire was sporadic during the day. Gangs had police radios and would give out distress calls that my LE had to respond to. I couldn't (okay, unwilling to) work my boats without LE overwatch. But at 1700 sustained automatic weapons fire started to work its way west from the city towards the boat launch area. The military must lead all rescue efforts. If Blanco had asked there were two Army Reserve BNs in the area. Hell her son was in my company, at one time, before we put him out. Slacker.
 
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