Texas National Guard, Fort Sam Houston Continue Rita Relief Efforts
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2005 Elements of the Texas National Guard continue supporting relief efforts for areas affected by Hurricane Rita, and Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, has been providing essential support, military officials reported.
The Texas National Guard is placing fuel-distribution sites in the Texas towns of Beaumont and Lufkin today.
The National Guard will be used to supply fuel to state and local emergency vehicles and facilities in the areas affected by Hurricane Rita.
After establishing the stationary fuel supplies, Guard units will provide unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel on heavyweight flatbed trucks. Each truck can transport up to 2,500 gallons where needed. The mobile resources are scheduled for use at hospitals, shelters and other emergency facilities, officials said.
The National Guard will deliver fuel to emergency services at local communities every day. Private contractors will resupply both National Guard fuel distribution sites.
Fort Sam Houston has been carrying out several support missions to facilitate relief efforts in the area.
The most visible of these missions has been support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Fort Sam Houston police extended hours at access-control points and blocked off roads on post to escort hundreds of 18-wheeler trucks onto the field across from the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center.
The post serves as a federal operational staging area for the trucks. When the hurricane hit early Sept. 24, hundreds of trucks moved out as others moved in to take their place. The trucks, mobilized in Fort Worth, Texas, were packed with water, ice, military rations and other relief resources destined for hurricane-ravaged areas along the coast.
As of Sept. 27, the post had facilitated the movement of 785 trucks to the small rural towns in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas hardest hit by the powerful storm. Each truck can hold 179,000 military meals, 41,000 pounds of ice, and nearly 18,000 liters of water.
Fort Sam Houston also supports Joint Task Force Rita. Hundreds of augmentees from every military branch have traveled to Fort Sam Houston to join the task force. The task force mission is to provide immediate support to enhance the relief efforts of federal, state and local governments while mitigating the suffering of those citizens impacted by Hurricane Rita, officials said.
The garrison provided logistics and communications support to the task force. To house the growing task force, a reserve mobilization barracks was turned into billeting. The Directorate of Information Management, Directorate of Public Works, and other various logistics and Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities provided additional support.
The Defense Department remains committed to providing the assistance required to improve the situation on the Gulf Coast, defense officials said. The response of the Texas National Guard, in cooperation with local first responders and FEMA, has been outstanding, and they have needed very little assistance from active-duty U.S. military forces, officials said.
(Compiled from U.S. Northern Command and Texas National Guard news releases.)