Katrina Recollections!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ura-Ki, Aug 15, 2018.


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  1. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    The topic of Katrina came up and I was asked to share my experience as a first responder! So here goes! We were stationed in Germany as was the norm for us as first response Air Combat Rescue P.J.s so we were always the first few squadrons to answer any emergency! The warnings had been sent out about a week before the storm hit, and we were watching closely to see where it would hit and how bad it might get! about 12 hours before the storm hit, it was obvious just how bad it was going to be and we had a pretty good idea where it would make land fall! We had already loaded our MH-60s on 4 transports ( 2 birds each plane) and were wheels up just ahead of the storm by aprox 6 hours! It's about a 16 hour flight across the Atlantic, with 2 air to air refulings, and we circled around southern Florida to await the orders that would send us in to the worst hit area. We were pretty shure it would be New Orleans, but there could be other areas needing us worse, so we were to stand by until the storm had passed enough to land and begin flight ops! We ended up landing at the small civilian air port just outside the city, it had taken quite a bit of damage, but the ground forces ( national guard units) were able to clear the main runway for us to land. First thing we did was to get our Trauma unit set up and running, and get the Coast Guard and National Guard to start running fuel to us! We had 8 Large transports ( C-5B) that landed the first 4 hours to get us up and running while the first 4 Mh-60s went out to begin rescues! I was deployed the first 12 hour shift to the TOC ( Tactical Operations Center) to coordinate with other Mil. and Civil rescue operations) With the U.S.C.G. in command of the entire operation, with Us as back up, but the prime medical support! Every thing happening came across my desk, so I got to see every thing that was happening, and could answer to any one who called to ask or to pass along orders! My job was to organise and prioritize all incoming rescue requests in order of importance and assets available and recommend to command which needs were most dire! I also communicated with all pilots to track operations and to shift assignments as needed! By the 2nd day, I was rotated to flight ops and begin my part of flight ops and rescues! In my first 12 hour shift, we ran 51 winch rescues, and transported 106 persons to processing centers to be examined and cared for and then sent to shelters for additional care or other needs. My third day was spent in the trauma center handling incoming trauma patents, which by this time, we were seeing a YUGE increase! It was expected the numbers of casualties would rise as more folks were having heath emergencies, many were showing signs of viral infections or other afflictions due to long term exposure to contaminated waters! Then we had casualties evac ops, folks who needed to be transported out of the area for further/long term care in the hospitals that were able to take them! Those were shuttled to the air port and then sent out for care! By the end of my first week, I was exhausted, and due to be relieved, which wasn't going to happen, so we all had to suck it up and carry on any way we could!
    We ran a total of 1300 flight ops in the first 10 days! The Coasties ran even more, having more aircraft on site, but we had higher hours per airframe. We had received a battalion of Army combat engineers to help shore up our operations and expand to allow additional personal and equipement! the first 3 weeks, every thing had to move by air, the roads were impassable, and those that could be cleared were being used to run emergency supplies to the civilian shelters and trauma centers! Every thing else had to fly! By this time, The rescues were about finished, so we transitioned to security and comand and control with the Coasties passing command of the ops over to the Army and the National Guard!
     
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  2. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Awesome job!!!
     
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  3. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    The most amazing thing I recall, the numbers of Military that responded! We had the Two hospital ships, at least One carrier, and 70 other warships and Cutters with in the first 12 hours! Also, in all the air ops, we didn't have a single accident or loss of any aircraft, or crew! No one got sick, and we didn't loose a single person during a rescue! When you consider all those aircraft operating in such a close area, that alone is simply amazing!
     
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  4. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    What an amazing story so glad you shared. Thank you for helping those fellow Americans in need.
     
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  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

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  6. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Good job sir!!!
     
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  7. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Excellent job and I shudder to even think what Katrina and the other storms would of been like if we had not had all the support we did have, the example of the people being rescued by air comes to mind.. the problem is one of scale, we could mostly handle an emergency in one relatively small city, but could not handle even a regional situation. The intense effort put in by the military and others during Katrina and the problems they faced, gives me even more reason to prep for short to intermediate disruptions in the normal world.
     
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  8. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I don't think most folks give our military enough credit. In a large regional or nationwide disaster they are the ones best equipped to take control, set up supply lines and medical services where most needed and restore and maintain something resembling order.
     
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  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Military control over civilians? Bite your tongue. (I know what you mean, but I can hear the howling about needing to follow the sarg's instructions to siddown and shaddup, we'll get to you in due course.) Grannie needs power and water NOW!!
     
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  10. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    @Ura-Ki "our MH-60s on 4 transports ( 2 birds each plane) and were wheels up just ahead of the storm by aprox 6 hours! It's about a 16 hour flight across the Atlantic, with 2 air to air refueling…"

    But, I got to ask this... What were your transport aircraft that needed a refuel to cross the Atlantic? I thought the C-17s had longer legs than that and I have seen them carry an Abrams so they definitely can move the tonnage but...16 hours? Was it a C-130? (my favorite aircraft btw, always felt safe within them, even if they took longer to get to where I was going LOL! And, don't need as much runway if they need to sit down someplace austere...which being the hopeless pessimist and paranoid I was always considering LOL!)
     
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  11. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    16 hours, 2 refuel. C-5s and we took the long southern track to come in behind the storm, then orbited while waiting to see where we were going to land/ get the lading area cleared and secured. We had all of our gear, and personal, but nothing outside the norm for a C-5! I had to leave out a tidbit of info, i'm not sure its cleared for civilian consumption. Lets just say, the second refuel wasn't needed for this flight, but , a C-5 does hold a chit ton of usable fuel! That's all I should say!
    We hadn't gotten the C-17s yet, and the 130s would have been nice, but the flight would have been much longer and unbearable! While I do love the 130s, man those suckers are loud, especially on a long slog like that!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  12. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Monkey+++

    someone was asking about the SuperDome FEMA occurrences during Katrina >>>> totally amazed how the internet had been sanitized of all the horror stories that were once posted - you'd thought it was a PTA picnic for the kiddies .....
     
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  13. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Rapes,Robbery, Murder, No toilets that worked, Ambulances with bullet holes, Helicopters shot at, Police and guardsmen shot at etc....Excellent lesson on just how feral people will get on a rainy day.
     
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  14. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    A democracy does not work so well in a crisis or disaster. And looking at most of the civilian population now days..... well it ain't very civil.
     
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  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There were times during Kat that I was thinking that just pulling out and letting the rats eat each other would have been the best action, even tho' I couldn't justify it ethically. That said, I know people that went in and did what they could in the burbs with boats and high trucks. Those folks deserve heavy credit to go with the monster private financial support that they got. Expenses were not covered, but sure did help. (Some had to skirt around dot mil and dot gov roadblocks that tried to prevent private help getting in.)
     
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  16. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    @Ura-Ki Well Done! [bow]

    Democracy disappears in a crisis like Katrina. Looters and the criminal element will always attempt to take advantage of others during these events and disguising themselves as aid workers isn't beyond them.

    Those who volunteered in the aftermath of Katrina deserve all the gratitude and accolades that could be bestowed upon them.
     
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  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There were times during Kat that I was thinking that just pulling out and letting the rats eat each other would have been the best action, even tho' I couldn't justify it ethically. That said, I know people that went in and did what they could in the burbs with boats and high trucks. Those folks deserve heavy credit to go with the monster private financial support that they got. Expenses were not covered, but sure did help. (Some had to skirt around dot mil and dot gov roadblocks that tried to prevent private help getting in.)
     
    Gator 45/70 and Ura-Ki like this.
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