Mississippi Guard Responds to Coastal Flooding

American Forces Press Service

JACKSON, Miss., Sept. 11, 2008 - About 100 Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 155th Combined Arms Battalion, left yesterday for Gulfport, Miss., to assist local authorities as they deal with rising flood waters and additional flooding in Harrison and Hancock Counties.

Using 10 high-wheeled vehicles and 20 Humvees, the soldiers will conduct search-and-rescue missions and presence patrols in low-lying areas that are still partially flooded following Hurricane Gustav earlier this month. They also will conduct checkpoints to secure neighborhoods and businesses until the flood waters recede.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour authorized Army Maj. Gen. William L. Freeman Jr., the state's adjutant general, to activate soldiers of the Mississippi Army National Guard for flood support operations as Hurricane Ike moves through the Gulf of Mexico.

"I know we can always depend on the National Guard to safeguard our citizens during emergencies like these," Barbour said. "They did an excellent job just weeks ago during Hurricane Gustav, and I have full confidence they will again."

Freeman promised the guard troops will continue to deliver excellence in their hurricane response.

"Our soldiers are vigilant and can get to work right away assisting our fellow Mississippians," he said. "They know where to go and what to do, and they will be at the right place at the right time."

Nearly 2,000 soldiers were on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Hurricane Gustav, supporting local authorities with search and rescue, presence patrols, checkpoints, and by manning distribution points for ice, water and food. More than 19,000 citizens were given these life-sustaining items following Gustav.

The Mississippi National Guard has about 8,000 soldiers and airmen available for emergency operations if needed, officials said.

(From a Mississippi National Guard news release.)

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