On Your Guard Flashback: Katrina

Ten years ago today (the date was Aug. 29 on that Monday in 2005), Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. It is still arguably the worst natural disaster America has ever seen. It is also the National Guard’s greatest domestic mission in history.

Last week, GX Online published a 10th anniversary compilation of Katrina veterans’ stories. Here are a few paragraphs from the article that recap the crisis and the Guard’s response, as well as a link to read these amazing, first-hand accounts of the drama that unfolded.

Soldiers of the 832nd Medical Company hoist a survivor from an apartment building surrounded by floodwater. Wisconsin National Guard file photo

Soldiers of the 832nd Medical Company hoist a survivor from an apartment building surrounded by floodwater. Wisconsin National Guard file photo

It covered an area the size of Great Britain. Whipped up winds upon landfall that reached 125 mph. Produced waves three stories high. Plunged 80 percent of New Orleans under water. Knocked out power in 3 million homes across eight states. Forced nearly 1.2 million residents to evacuate. Left 600,000 families homeless for a month. Destroyed property at an estimated cost of more than $80 billion. And took over 1,800 lives.

Other storms have been deadlier. But none had the impact of Katrina in scope, complexity, and human suffering. By one scientific measure, Katrina generated nearly twice the energy as the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

Track hoe operator SGT Dolphus “Buster” Carter (left) and SGT Jamie Peters, both with the Mississippi Guard’s B Company, 890th Engineer Battalion, clear public land in Biloxi as part of the coastal clean-up operations. Photo by 2LT Murray B. Shugars

Track hoe operator SGT Dolphus “Buster” Carter (left) and SGT Jamie Peters, both with the Mississippi Guard’s B Company, 890th Engineer Battalion, clear public land in Biloxi as part of the coastal clean-up operations. Photo by 2LT Murray B. Shugars

Lieutenant General (Ret.) H. Steven Blum, then-chief of the National Guard Bureau, promised two things to President George W. Bush: “We’ll give you whatever you need,” and, “We’re here for as long as you need us.”

More than 50,000 Soldiers and Airmen, coming from every U.S. State and Territory, contributed to the rescue, relief, and recovery efforts. It was the largest military response to a domestic event in the Nation’s history — and came at a time when nearly 80,000 Guard troops were already deployed overseas.

Troops came by foot, truck, boat, and helicopter. They were in the Superdome in New Orleans. On the streets of Gulfport, MS. In the skies over the coastline. They fed and sheltered victims; rescued the stranded; and tended to the infirm. They transported people and provisions; generated power; pumped out water; and removed debris. They quieted civil unrest; directed traffic; sandbagged properties; facilitated communication; and moved more than 18,000 tons of supplies. The Army Guard, at times going house to house, saved more than 17,000 people.

On this 10-year anniversary of that historic mission, there are sure to be thousands of stories told by Katrina veterans. We offer a selection of Soldiers representing different perspectives and response site. (Read at this link: http://gxonline.com/katrina#sthash.jM85fo71.dpuf.)

A Humvee traverses floodwater surrounding the Superdome in September. Photo by SSG Jacob N. Bailey

A Humvee traverses floodwater surrounding the Superdome in September. Photo by SSG Jacob N. Bailey

 

To the brave Soldiers who were part of the Katrina Response a decade ago, On Your Guard says “thank you.”

If you aspire to protect our Nation’s citizens when natural disasters strike, consider making it happen through a part-time commitment in the Army National Guard. Search our jobs board for available opportunities and contact a recruiter today.

 

Original story information and photos courtesy of GX Online. GX is an official publication of the Army National Guard.

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On Your Guard Flashback: A Spotlight on Engineering

In September 2013, On Your Guard ran the following Spotlight on Engineering. Since we’ve been talking about STEM careers this summer, with engineering the focus this month, we thought we’d flashback and repost. The info is still relevant and focuses on the more surprising aspects of engineering in the Army National Guard. Be sure to click the links to read a more detailed description for each military occupational specialty and to view nationwide openings on our jobs board.

Engineering in the Guard is not entirely what you might expect. Sure, there are technical engineers and geospatial engineers and mechanical engineers. But did you know the 12-series Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) also includes plumbers, electricians, concrete equipment operators, and a bunch more job titles that offer a direct correlation with civilian skilled labor trades? Surprise!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find by selecting “Engineer” in the Category dropdown menu of the National Guard jobs board.

12B Construction Specialist

Okay, we fibbed. Sort of. This one actually does have the word “engineer” in the real title, which reads “12B Combat Engineer – Construction and Engineering Specialist.” But, in addition to a possible civilian career in structural engineering, this MOS could also lead to jobs related to building inspection, various types of construction, and more.

In the Guard, 12B Combat Engineers design and build roadways and bridges; secure perimeters and tactical firing systems; and detect and safely neutralize mines and other dangers.

12C Bridge Crewmember

Bridge Crewmembers often work hand-in-hand with Combat Engineers on jobs that keep army vehicles moving over both wet and dry gap crossings. You get to learn the engineering principles and basic construction methods associated with building bridges, which of course has a direct correlation to working on any civilian bridge construction crew.

12D Diver

And how cool would it be to serve as a Diver in the Guard? You know you’ve always wanted to learn. Some military operations – like reconnaissance, patrol, construction, repair, demolition, and salvage – actually take place under water. So, Guard Scuba Divers work just below the surface of the water and Guard Deep Sea Divers work for long periods in depths of up to 300 feet.

You may be thinking, “Great, but diving’s just a hobby.” So not true. Oil companies, salvage companies, construction firms, police and fire rescue units, and shipping enterprises – all often require some form of underwater specialist.

12G Quarrying Specialist

If the concept of reducing a mountain to rubble sounds even cooler, then you won’t be disappointed as a Quarrying Specialist in the Guard. These Soldiers make gravel by blasting rock, putting it through two crushing stages, cleaning it in a washing station, and delivering the finished product to the project site. These skills are excellent for pursuing a civilian career with building contractors, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers, and construction firms.

12K Plumber

“Pipe system engineer” is not really a euphemism when you’re talking about choosing a 12K MOS. National Guard Plumbers work on pipe systems for water, steam, and waste, as well as hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Duties include reading drawings, plans, and specifications; planning the layout of pipe systems; and installing and maintaining pipe systems and plumbing fixtures – all of which prepares you for a civilian career in commercial and residential plumbing.

12M Firefighter

Yes, firefighting is an engineering job in the Guard. Army bases have their own fire protection personnel who are responsible for protecting lives and property by controlling and helping to prevent fires in buildings and on aircraft. Just like in the civilian world, they perform firefighting and rescue operations, operate firefighting equipment and vehicles, administer first aid, and respond to hazardous material emergencies. Plus, the training and certifications are the same ones you need to be a firefighter in your community, whether it’s on a paid crew or as a local volunteer.

12R Interior Electrician

If there are “pipe system engineers” in the National Guard, it only makes sense that there’d be “wire system engineers” as well. The 12R Interior Electrician offers all the training you need to work for public utilities or commercial and residential contractors. You learn how to install and wire electrical hardware – like transformers, junction boxes, service panels, electrical boxes, switches, and circuit breakers – found in offices, repair shops, airplane hangars, and other buildings.

12V Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Crewmember

How many construction projects require concrete or asphalt? In the Guard, the answer is: a lot. (Think roads, building foundations, airfields, etc.) Learning how to produce concrete with a concrete mobile mixer, as well as operate asphalt distributors, aggregate spreaders, asphalt kettles, and paving and surfacing equipment no doubt will prepare you for a rewarding career with construction enterprises like building contractors, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers, and construction firms.

12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist

Concrete is cool, but stone, steel, and wood are all fun to work with, too. The 12W is an Engineer category MOS that prepares you for a civilian career in commercial and residential construction as a mason, carpenter, concrete finisher, drywall installer, ceiling tile installer, and more. That’s because training and duties involve general heavy carpentry, structural steel, and masonry duties, including the fabrication, erection, maintenance, and repair of rigging devices, trusses, and other structural assemblies.

Well, that’s it. That’s all the “What? That’s an Engineer MOS?” job titles we have for this week. If you’d like to learn more about one of these valuable, skill-packed careers, visit the Army National Guard jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

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August’s Hot Job Is … 12V Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Crewmember

Each month throughout 2015, On Your Guard is spotlighting a “hot job.” What defines these featured jobs as “hot”? One all-important benchmark: number of times people searched for it on the National Guard jobs board. So, here’s what’s hot for August.

12V Concrete & Asphalt Equipment CrewmemberDo you love hands-on, get-messy projects? And by that we mean, do you see yourself tackling large outdoor jobs rather than sitting behind a desk? And finally, have you ever thought it would be cool to operate construction equipment? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you may be a perfect fit to train as a 12V Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Crewmember in the Army National Guard.

Whether assisting combat engineer missions or rebuilding after a natural disaster, concrete and asphalt crews are pretty important to the Guard. Crewmembers learn how to operate concrete mixers, asphalt distributers, aggregate spreaders, and asphalt kettles so they can help the Guard complete hundreds of construction projects (think roads, airfields, building foundations, dams, etc.).

Plus, part-time Soldiers with 12V skills can apply for in-demand civilian positions with commercial and residential construction companies, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers, building contractors and more.

Watch this video about the 12V military occupational specialty (MOS) to get a first-hand look at what crewmembers do, and then read on to learn more about training and benefits.

Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Crewmembers must first attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, followed by 4 weeks of Advanced Individual Training that includes both classroom learning and hands-on, in-the-field instruction.

12Vs are eligible for any of the Guard’s outstanding education benefits, healthcare and life insurance, retirement programs, and more.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to produce quality concrete and asphalt for the Guard, visit our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

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