KATY, Texas, Sept. 3, 2017 —
In response to Hurricane Harvey, the Army has deployed more than 700 wheeled vehicles and more than 90 helicopters. These assets are invaluable, but it is the people who fill the more than 16,000 uniforms aiding in the recovery who are making the difference to those in need.
Since the relief effort began, soldiers have saved 6,000 people in Texas and Louisiana and have rescued more than 300 pets.
"We are very proud to do this. It means so much," said Lt. Col. Matthew Masias, a commander and pilot in the Texas Army National Guard. "Every time we get a mission, we know we are doing something good for people, and we know what we are doing is helping people in need out." Masias has conducted several missions with his crew to deliver life-supporting supplies to affected communities.
Houston Executive Airport here, just outside of Houston, has become a major hub for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Military aircraft are continuously coming and going. Missions include rescue, supply distribution or troop transportation.
Maj. Scott S. Davis, a flight physical assistant assigned to the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, participated in multiple supply drops, including a Sept. 1 food and water drop-off in Sour Lake, Texas. "Watching these pilots, crew chiefs and maintenance crews work hard to get much needed supplies to those most in need has been one of the highlights of my career," he said.
Aviation missions from Houston Executive Airport have been running continuously since Aug. 31. Transport by aircraft has been effective and efficient, with a demanding schedule for pilots and crews.
"We're on 24-hour operations now, flying day and night," said Pvt. Robert Paul, an infantryman in the Texas Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, who was called up to support the relief operations. "We're just getting started. There are plenty out there who need our help."
Thousands of people along the U.S. Gulf Coast suffered from Hurricane Harvey. The efforts to relieve those in need include contributions from service members from all over the country.
"The moment we saw that people were in need, we answered their call. In situations like this, it's not Texans helping Texas, or Louisianans helping Louisiana," Masias said. "We have people from all over coming to help, so it's really Americans helping Americans, and it's amazing."