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13th COSCOM joins almost 60,000 troops in Katrina relief

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, September 8, 2005) – Soldiers of the 13th Corps Support Command from Fort Hood, Texas, are deploying to New Orleans this week in support of Joint Task Force Katrina.

The COSCOM will be joining units from the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division and the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group.

About 41,500 National Guard personnel are on duty in the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Almost 17,500 active-duty personnel are on ships or on the ground in the region, DoD officials said.

About 400 Army Reserve Soldiers have also been called up and deployed, with other Army Reserve units notified to be ready to assist relief efforts with their specialized capabilities, such as bridging, engineering, laundry and bath services, or to provide temporary lodging for relief workers with their facilities.

The 54th Quartermaster Company (Mortuary Affairs) from Fort Lee, Va., and the 311th Quartermaster Co., from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, are on their way to the Gulf coast to help with casualties and the identification of personal effects.

Soldiers from both the 54th and 311th Quartermaster Companies were called to help with recovery operations at the Pentagon and in New York following the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

The 13th COSCOM.will deploy for a minimum of 60 days as the senior joint logistical support command for JTF Katrina, officials said.

The COSCOM headquarters, elements of the 4th Corps Material Management Center, the 49th Movement Control Battalion, Special Troops Battalion, and elements of the 263rd Maintenance Company are deploying.

The COSCOM will not be in direct support of rescue missions and law enforcement, it will sustain the troops who do fill these roles and enabling them to continue to do their jobs, said Lt. Col. Kenneth S. Lundgren, COSCOM G-3.

“[Soldiers with the HHC are] deploying to provide humanitarian relief to fellow Americans – I guess that’s the best way to put it,” explained the HHC first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Arthur M. Benavides.

COSCOM will be providing logistical support for the distribution of water, food and fuel, Benavides continued.

One major part of this support will be to provide water for consumption and bathing, said Lundgren. This task falls to Reverse Osmosis Purification Units.

“We’re able to send six of these already to New Orleans and we’re taking our own as well so we’ll be able to provide water for the military and the other government agencies working around the area,” Lundgren added.

Each of these machines can purify approximately 600 gallons of water per hour, Lundgren said.

Along with the ROPUs, the COSCOM is sending just under 100 vehicles for various missions, Lundgren went on.

“The smallest item would be the Humvee . . . to move people around within the city. The largest would be M916 tractor trailer low boy, with some dump trucks and some doziers, excavators . . .” Lundgren explained.

“It makes me feel very good to watch daily how things get better and better; see people’s gratifying faces. The biggest impact will be to see everything improve. Looking forward to going down there getting this done for the people. Helps a lot to be able to go and do something for our own people versus other countries as well,” Benavides continued.

“A lot of people believe we owe something to our fellow countrymen. I believe that myself,” Lundgren added. “Help them rise again as the city that we know and we love as part of the United States.”

(Editor’s note: Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge provided significant contributions to this article, along with a news release from Fort Lee, Va.)

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