Indiana Guard begins next mission -- recovery
6/16/2008 - INDIANAPOLIS (AFPN) -- Some Indiana National Guardsmen began returning to their homes on June 15, while others began the next phase of their flood duty in the southwest part of the state -- recovery.
Joint Task Force - 81 will have 60 of its 1,300 deployed Soldiers stay behind in the vicinity of East Mount Carmel and New Harmony, Ind., said Lt. Col. Deedra Thombleson, the state public affairs officer. These Soldiers will work with local responders to observe the water level at local levees.
"The water levels are receding, and the rain coming doesn't look like its going to cause that much of a hazard to the levees," Colonel Thombleson said. "(But) there could be an additional push for manpower if it was needed."
Soldiers and Airmen have worked with Indiana communities for the last eight days conducting search and rescue missions, moving sandbags and distributing water to communities.
The Indiana Soldiers and Airmen, who participated in search and rescue missions, evacuated 200 people from their flooded homes. They also emplaced 110,200 sandbags that covered more than 2.75 miles of levees and city perimeters and impacted more than 25 communities.
Finally, the Indiana Guard deployed 26, 400-gallon water trailers to 12 different southern Indiana communities, and Soldiers distributed 145,000 gallons of water at these sites.
The deployment included troops from all six of Indiana's major commands, Colonel Thombleson said, and it was among the largest in 18 years.
Now that the waters are receding Kentucky Army National Guardsmen are heading home too. Two UH-60s from the state were on standby in Vincennes, Ind. These helicopters, which are equipped with hoists used for medical evacuation, were requested under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact between the two states.
Colonel Thombleson said medical professionals from the Guard are working with the Indiana Department of Health to determine whether troops need any vaccinations after exposure to floodwaters.
Indiana Army National Guard Brig. Gen. David Harris, the JTF commander, said the Hoosier Guardsmen are thankful for the support the communities have given them during the emergency.
"We have two missions as Guardsmen," he said. "We have more than 4,000 Soldiers and Airmen currently deployed across the world. In the past week we responded in the State of Indiana to all missions directed by Indiana Department of Homeland Security with over 1,300 Soldiers and Airmen. We are proud to be citizen Soldiers and Airmen serving Indiana."
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