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View Full Version : Hurricane Katrina talk (split from another tread)



JAK
2005-09-01, 14:21
this is a pretty old poll, i guess, but i just wanted to say i'm glad for this site and forum... there's a different kind of poster here... a lot of people with military backgrounds, similar values and hiking philosophies, and a wonderful willingness to share their experiences. thank you, SGT Rock, for putting it together... i joined, shall we say ''another'' forum the other week, one concerned with hiking a certain stretch of America. folks there are way different... didn't take long to figure out i shouldn't post much there...

and thank you, DixieCritter, for the support that it takes for Rock to make something like this happen.I hope I'm not stepping out of line to say I hope everything is OK with you down in Louisiana and Mississippi. You are presumably safe, but are a lot 'closer' to it than I am and there must be a lot on your mind. It must be particularly tough on the folks from the Gulf States serving overseas. Thoughts are with you and your neighbours. Feel free to tell me what I should be thinking and doing.

JAK

Seeker
2005-09-01, 15:07
thanks... i'm fine... way over west of it... didn't even get rain when it was pounding new orleans...

we have some refugees up here, mostly staying with friends and family. their kids are being welcomed into the schools... estimating several months to rebuild...

SGT Rock
2005-09-02, 09:14
One of our Majors father works in a hospital near Baton Rouge. They finally got the last of their worst off patients out and were getting the staff out of there. According to what I understand the looting is getting bad. Any chance they will send Polk Troops down that way?

Seeker
2005-09-02, 12:02
yes... my daughter's best friend's dad, an engineer, supposedly left this morning... don't know if he's actually gone yet, but it IS in keeping with murphy's law... this is a much-looked-forward-to four-day weekend for the Army... reminds me of Hurricane Andrew... i had just come back from a two week exercise in England when we got deployment orders for FL/Hurricane Andrew relief... i didn't actually end up going, but i spend 5 days going home for every meal and saying 'goodbye, i'm leaving on the next bus'... finally, the political cap of 5000 troops was reached, and all flow into FL stopped... three months later we were off to Somalia... i was the first CPT to go, along with 3 MAJs from division plans (two maneuver, one loggie, and me, the intel guy).

looting seems to be in two forms... legitimate (people surrounded by floodwaters for 5 days, with no food or clean water to drink, have a right to 'scrounge', IMO), and opportunist who are running off with anything they can steal, and having nothing to do with survival... not sure how the gunfire reported by helo pilots evaccing the superdome fits in... a lot of stuff gets misreported in a crisis... "a retreating army overstates its pursuers by a factor of 10" i once read somewhere... no doubt there is some actual illegal looting, and some folks shooting other folks over food and water, or to protect their property... how is a chopper pilot to know the difference between someone trying to just attract his attention and some drunk a&&hole shooting off his gun for 'fun'? i'm sure the situation is grim though, but i'll reserve my opinion on that for a political forum...

back to the troops a moment... i hope this time they let them carry ammo... little known and unreported fact from Andrew was that two 82nd Abne troopers lost their M-16 rifles to a kid about 12 years old who held them up at gunpoint... evidently, his gun was loaded... theirs weren't... and he knew it... needless to say, all weapons went back into their racks and were sent back home ASAP, and soldiers sent down afterwards did not bring their weapons...

SGT Rock
2005-09-02, 14:14
Roger that. I don't think I could bring myself to stop a woman running out of Wal-Mart with diapers and baked beans, but people breaking into pharmacies for drugs would be game on.

That Major I work with said according to his father who is there now, there are people robbing and car jacking others in the same boat. Their ain't any excuse for preying on others in the same boat. But my guess is a lot of the problem with lawlesness is overstated, I could tell some stories from Iraq, but anyway....

I just talked with a Major from my Brigade who is working at the EOC in Hattiesburg, they say it it bad trying to get things in. IMO, if I were President Bush, I would haul my staff down to New Orleans and set up in a crappy part of town, then tell them if they want to get me and themselves out of there, they get everyone else out first because we will be the last ones to leave.

JAK
2005-09-02, 15:11
:beerglass :beerglass :beerglass :beerglass :beerglass

Seeker
2005-09-02, 16:39
Roger that. I don't think I could bring myself to stop a woman running out of Wal-Mart with diapers and baked beans, but people breaking into pharmacies for drugs would be game on.

That Major I work with said according to his father who is there now, there are people robbing and car jacking others in the same boat. Their ain't any excuse for preying on others in the same boat. But my guess is a lot of the problem with lawlesness is overstated, I could tell some stories from Iraq, but anyway....

I just talked with a Major from my Brigade who is working at the EOC in Hattiesburg, they say it is bad trying to get things in. IMO, if I were President Bush, I would haul my staff down to New Orleans and set up in a crappy part of town, then tell them if they want to get me and themselves out of there, they get everyone else out first because we will be the last ones to leave.

not a bad idea... but then, there's a difference between management and leadership... one of those is sorely lacking right now, both in the DoD and America in general, and not just in the government...

hindsight is always 20/20... the public has no idea how long it takes to cut a path through a mile of blowdown, let alone miles of it... the news media incites some of the 'outrage'... haven't heard a report yet ask 'what the flock were you thinking by staying here vs evaccing?' whatever happened to self sufficiency and self reliance? personal responsibility? or recognizing it was time to get out BEFORE the storm, like thousands of others did? we laugh at the italians, and the leaning tower of pisa and city of venice (engineering marvels gone bad)... now we have one of our own...

got an email from MPRI... they are looking for volunteers to go 'help', possibly with a stipend... and they know they can rely on former military folks to handle the stress of the relief effort...

dixicritter
2005-09-02, 20:04
I split this off another thread. Hope no one minds. :)

I've been very sad for the people down there in NOLA especially since things seem to keep kicking them while they are already down. I feel for everyone that has had to endure this horrible hurricane.

Hope everyone that had someone living in those areas hit know that their people are ok.

JAK
2005-09-02, 21:01
:tee:
Thanks Mrs. Dixicritter.

You and your good husband and the True Seeker are saying all the right things of course and I don't have much too add. There are a lot of folks here in Acadia with ties to Louisiana. On their behalf I thank you and folks like you and yours for all you do for one another in times like these.

SGT Rock
2005-09-02, 21:02
They were having a drive here in Maryville for aid supplies. So we bought some bottled water to take over there. I plum forgot we still had Louisiana tags on the car. The police running the site asked us if we were from the area.

Yep clearing blowdown is no joke. But somehow they are getting in choppers and trucks. Get a couple of those new engineer vehicles down there designed to clear large, complex obsticals and put them to work.

Yep, the more I think of it, the better it sounds. Go in there with my staff and plant my guideon, then tell them I ain't moving until everyone else is taken care of.

Spice1
2005-09-02, 23:45
I've been following the storm and aftermath pretty closely. You see, the reason I strapped on my ruck again to walk across the US next spring is because I was convinced that things would get ugly if anything happened to our oil supply inthe US, since the world economy has been running right on the verge of shortage for the last two years. (ie, I don't want to be in the city if the food lines are broken) Well, it happened. And Katrina is not the bad event. Remember that hurricane season lasts until October, wth it's peak in late september. If another bad tropical storm hits the gulf, we will have an oil shortage heading into a particularly cold winter.

So, Striker mentioned that you hadn't seen a report on "Why didn't they just get out of there"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/09/01/katrina_race/index_np.html

That tells all. You see, inner city poor in isolated cities can't just walk out. They don't have cars, and at the end of the month, you don't have the money for greyhound tickets. Notice that in all those pictures that most of the people left in New Orleans are black? That's cause the (generally more affluent) white folk were able to hop in their volvos and range rovers and bug out. Meanwhile, the poverty stricken folks in the inner city are left to die. You see, there was an order issued to evacuate. There was no actuall evacuation. They didn't have busses shipping people out of the city, there wasn neither the time nor the infrastructure. As for people looting drug stores, I guarantee you, If I were in NO right now with my family, once I had food for my mother, I would be busting into a pharmacy to get her her insulun and walking out with a fair amount of first aid and anti-biotics. See, you're not there right now, and until this morning, neither was most of the military. Those looters are surviving. I know there are jacka**es gaffling televisons, but WHO cares, the city is underwater. Until their is a support network set up to feed and care for the refugees, use of the word looter is; at best; careless, and at worst; hypocritical.

How can I say all this? I grew up in the ghetto, and now live right in the middle of San Francisco's worst inner city neighborhood. If a natural disaster, or any event spurred an evacuation of the city, it is the people in my neighborhood that would be left behind.

Just my .02
-Spice

bird dog
2005-09-03, 03:20
I generally try to stay open minded about things and continue to do so on this topic. While you are right, I am not there, I did live in Louisianna for a while. After spending eight years in the military, and currently being a police officer, my opinions do tend to be skewed. How can you explain people shooting at Chinook helicopters coming to HELP the people there, and POLICE OFFICERS being ambushed by groups of armed gangs roaming the city that got their guns by looting local sporting goods stores? Taking food is one thing, but guns are another. The city was ordered to be evacuated and there were several shelters set up in nearby towns. In fact, we have several families that have came all the way to NC where we have implemented several programs to assist them. My heart and prayers go out to those who have been impacted by this, and several officers from my department will probably go to help as well. If they do, I will be among the first to volunteer. Im sure that alot of people will blow me up on this thread, and Im not trying to discuss political view points here. While backpacking is considered a "hobby" or a "past time" to most, I would like to think that when the power goes out (it did last year for two weeks due to an ice storm) that I can survive.

SGT Rock
2005-09-03, 10:23
Well I tend to agree on some points. If things were bad I know how to survive quite well but then again, I am not a urbanized old person with medical problems who probably has a hard time. And if I were family for someone that was like that and was trapped, I would stay in to take care of them. And once the situation was over, I would expect some help eventually.

Personally I belive, from experience in Iraq, that the shooting contact with the chopper was probably overblown to a certain extent. And while there have been incidents with police getting shot at, I also think that is the abberation. There are plenty of stories and some pictures on AKO of soldiers getting aid in, and it doen't looke like Somalia. Just get a few infantry platoons to secure distribution sites (sorry to the MPs out there, but defend is a better infantry task) and let the Cav secure convoys into them. Once a couple of guys with .50 cal and saws open up on a jackass trying to be all squirly, they will learn the error of their ways while the rest that are stuck in there will continue to get the aid they need and hopefullly relocation if that is what they need. I have noticed that some people in New Orleans are above water and don't want to leave their houses. If they have the supplies and want to start re-building - more power too them.

Spice1
2005-09-03, 17:00
I garee with both of you. While I think firing on rescuers is idiotic, I do belive it happens. I was in LA for the riots, and saw that kind of stuff going on at the time. Stores would be burning and the fire department would get run out of the neighborhoods by gunfire. I saw the escalation of events during the SF blackouts over the the last couple of years, but it's alot easier for the police to come in and restore order during blackouts.

Yes, Sgt Rock, I would probably do exactly as you are describing, trying to stay and rebuild. Fortunately, If it ever happens here in SF, all those guys you see looting are my friends and neighbors, which I would like to think would give me a leg up on organization.

I think the shooting stems from pent up rage. When you hear about the poor and opressed, they really do exist. And they are quite aware that they are poor and opressed. I'm not in that boat, thankfully, I chose to live where I do, and have made a difference as much as I can, ad will leave here next year with alot of good memories. I will also leave knowing how bad life can be for some of these people, and it will be an awareness that sits with me for the rest of my life.

Seeker, do you have contact info for the MPRI volunteers? I can leave my job whenever I like, for as long as I like and would love to head out there and help.

-Spice

JAK
2005-09-03, 20:24
Just some poems I posted on the TLB Forum.
Not mine, of course.

I've always liked these two poems. For some reason I now associate them with this disaster and the streets of New Orleans.


Every Girl Deserves a Poem
- Richard Brautigan

all girls should have a poem
written for them even if
we have to turn this Goddamn world
upside down to do it.



Among Those Killed in the Dawn Raid was a Man Aged a Hundred
- Dylan Thomas

When the morning was waking over the war
He put on his clothes and stepped out and he died,
The locks yawned loose and a blast blew them wide,
He dropped where he loved on the burst pavement stone
And the funeral grains of the slaughtered floor.
Tell his street on its back he stopped a sun
And the craters of his eyes grew springshots and fire
When all the keys shot from the locks, and rang.
Dig no more for the chains of his grey-haired heart.
The heavenly ambulance drawn by a wound
Assembling waits for the spade's ring on the cage.
O keep his bones away from the common cart,
The morning is flying on the wings of his age
And a hundred storks perch on the sun's right hand.


p.s. And this one for the people of the smaller towns of the Gulf States,
that I never had the good fortune to visit and to meet, and now, can not.

from a short story
by John Metcalf

Gentle as flowers make the stones
That comfort Liza's tender bones.
Earth, lie lightly on her, who,
Living, scarcely burdened you.

Seeker
2005-09-03, 20:29
yes... my daughter's best friend's dad, an engineer, supposedly left this morning... don't know if he's actually gone yet, but it IS in keeping with murphy's law... this is a much-looked-forward-to four-day weekend for the Army...

just an update... as of friday afternoon, the guy i was talking about hadn't left yet, nor do i know if troops are being sent from Polk.

here's a copy of the email i rec'd from MPRI.

This em is being sent bcc to all ex military folks in our db living in LA, MS, Al, TX. One of our long time teammates, a company called Omega Risk, with whom we do Emergency Management & Security Services work with has volunteered their services to the state of LA to help in the evacuation of patients from Hospitals in the greater New Orleans area...right now they are working the Tulane Hospital. They are looking for ex-military types they can bring on to assist them in this endeavor. They are looking for volunteers but the state will reimburse for food / quarters, etc., and there even may be a daily stipend shaped at approximately $200 to $300 per day

The POC is Amy Fischer who is with Omega -- Phone is 972 389 0600 and the email is Amy.Fischer@omegarisk.net

While traditionally we do not use our database for contact other than MPRI-related employment opportunities, this is surely an extraordinary time for the folks in LA, MS, and AL. The people with Omega know what kind of folks they get when they hire ex-military and surely the situation in New Orleans resembles a war zone that I know you are familiar with and can operate in!

Thanks for reading this email and considering this opportunity. I am sure many of you are already contributing in many ways but if you are looking for another potential opportunity to "continue to serve" this may be it!

VR Jack
Jack Hook, Senior VP, Human Resources
E-mail -- Jack.Hook@L-3com.com
www.mpri.com
1-800-779-6940
703-684-8781
Direct Line 703-254-0061
Fax 703-549-9135

MPRI
1201 E. Abingdon Drive
Suite 425
Alexandria, VA 22314-1493

bird dog
2005-09-04, 06:30
Update for those who are interested. NC just welcomed 1500 residents from New Orleans, at least five hundred of which are being placed in my hometown. Our department is not sending officers to LA but were politely declined when we offered our assistance. Go figure. At any rate, I plan on volunteering to help the ones they sent here. From my understanding, several states accross the Southeast and around the nation are sponsoring some of the residents that were affected by Katrina. I live in a fairly large city, but I am sure anyone who cares to volunteer can contact their local Salvation Army or Red Cross chapter, and find people from the Gulf states who are being relocated nearby your home.

Seeker
2005-09-04, 21:24
Bird Dog-could have been turned down for a couple reasons... i'm guessing the biggest one is that it takes time, with limited lines of communication (that means passable roads), to get stuff into the city... rushing help to someplace all at once isn't really helping if it just creates more of a logjam... so maybe someone will call again in a couple days or weeks, and ask for you guys to help out... first they may need to find a decent place for you to stay, a way to feed and bathe you, etc...

funny though, how stuff works sometimes... i had put an application in with fema a couple months ago... they just called... wanted me NOW... don't think so... nice way to quit a good job... 'hi boss... are you having a good weekend? i'm quiting... oh, and how about a recommendation?'

bird dog
2005-09-05, 05:23
oh, and how about a recommendation?'

Ahhh, dont worry about the recommendation Seeker. Im sure Rock would give you one!

They may or may not ask now. From what I have heard in my "official" circles is that they have agencies from all over helping already. Im not sure how the legalities of it would work and I think that may be a concern. We currently have mutual aid agreements with other local agencies within NC, but it becomes very different when other states are involved. Also, you must consider the language barrier. While most of us are eager to help, few speak Creole (I knew enough of it when I was married to my first wife to know when her family was talking about me, but have forgotten all of it now).

Communications must be a nightmare there with so many different agencies trying to work together. I have heard that they have resulted in the old "runner" system due to the power outages, and incompatible commo systems.

Kea
2005-09-05, 19:42
Communications must be a nightmare there with so many different agencies trying to work together. I have heard that they have resulted in the old "runner" system due to the power outages, and incompatible commo systems.

I've been listening to the VoIP feeds from the amateur radio side and for quite a while, there has been so little functioning equipment that logistics has been dreadfully difficult. Then top it with all the frequencies and systems in use (digitial versus analog) and it's just unbelievable. Then take into account that 500 cell towers were either down or on the ground and it just lends itself to nightmares of biblical proportions. :damnmate:

Seeker
2005-09-05, 20:01
the army guy in me thinks there has to be a way to sort that mess out... i hate to dredge up war stories, but when i was stationed in europe, we had two entire corps of soldiers changing radio frequencies every 24 hours, and it worked out fine... there was some master plan somewhere that assigned those thousands of frequencies... heck the book assigning those frequencies (CEOI for you army guys) was about an inch thick, and 4'' x 5" high and wide, was just covered with numbers, call signs, and freqs and come to think of it, we carried a week's worth of info at a time... maybe a 10 day period... i forget... anyway, it was possible because we had stand alone FM radios... not cell phones like they use now, and can't 'communicate on the move' (a complaint after the ground invasion of iraq) because of the necessity for the towers... i've even planned exercises where the comms towers were 'off limits' to the opfor... but i digress...

getting a bunch of civilian agencies all pulling in the same direction must be a nightmare... it's easy for the press to point fingers, but with few exceptions (the IRS being the most notable), i've found that most gov't employees work hard and conscienciously... i'm sure they're doing the best they can in impossible conditions... sad thing is, the people who could've left but didn't are clogggin the system, making it more distracting to help those who couldn't leave...

we're up to 1500 evacuees in our town now, up from 1100 as of about thursday/friday... over a hundred new kids in school last week... could get interesting... (oh. our town has a pop of 9500. there are approximately 5-8 classes of each grade, with roughly 22/23 kids per class, depending on the grade... but you get the idea...)