'Git 'Er Done' Exemplifies Katrina Recovery Efforts
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala., Sep. 10, 2005 "Git 'er done" is popping up on the T-shirts recovery professionals are wearing here.
The phrase popularized by comedian Larry the Cable Guy is the way all meetings seem to end. This air base is one staging area for relief supplies "going downrange" into the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
"Git 'er done" exemplifies the attitude of the diverse groups working together to push supplies to those most affected by killer storm Katrina.
Just off the base's flight line is a parking lot for hundreds of tractor-trailers. Trucks come in and go off constantly. A golf cart borrowed from the Air Force leads an 18-wheeler to a parking spot - a sight akin to a Great Dane chasing a Chihuahua.
Mike Post is the staging area chief here. Post, a retired Army armor officer, has been with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since it was founded in 1979.
"The absolute primary mission here is to get these goods to the victims," he said. "Everyone here - from government people to contract truckers - understands that."
And they all work together. Post and his seven-man team came from Seattle. They meshed with professionals from the Alabama state government, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service.
"This is a total team effort," Post said. "Everyone knows they are just one piece in the puzzle of getting supplies to victims, and they all know how important it is."
The trucks carry water, ice, meals ready to eat, generators, plastic sheeting, cots, blankets, air-conditioning units and much, much more, he said. "We had three trucks full of pasta that the Red Cross had here," Post said.
The teams arrived two days before Katrina made landfall and began preparing. He said he has received outstanding support from the base officials here. "I just have to think of something and they have gotten it for me," Post said.
The trucks are all equipped with transponders, cell phones and CB radios, so emergency officials know where they are and what they are carrying. If needed, they can contact the truckers and divert them to other areas where victims may need their supplies more.
"From the moment I get a request to having a truck moving out the gate is minutes," Post said. "It's 'git 'er done' in action."
Building the support infrastructure, monitoring deliveries and moving the trucks in and out is like a chess game, Post said. "The only advantage we have is in the end we know we're going to win."