Alaska National Guard Soldiers assist Louisiana in aftermath of Hurricane Ida

by Candis Olmstead

The Alaska National Guard is in Louisiana this week (Sept. 8th, 2021) providing assistance to the Louisiana National Guard and civil authorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which struck the state Aug. 29.

The 17 Soldiers departed Sept. 3 and have been working at a transportation yard in Roseland, La. with Guardsmen from four other states.

“Civilian and military truck drivers are bringing in full truckloads of water, food and tarps,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Tyrrell, Task Force-Alaska platoon leader. “We are conducting an inventory of each truck, logging and marking contents, tracking it and staging it for delivery.”

Tyrrell said his team also has military police on security detail at their location, along with a fueler, medic and forklift operator who were assigned those jobs in the yard. All of the Guardsmen work 12-hour shifts staying busy every day.

“Yesterday, we moved 100 trucks out of here, headed to southeast Louisiana where there is a lot of need for the supplies we’re pushing out,” said Tyrrell.

Hurricane Ida caused destruction and devastation throughout the state, but some areas were hit harder than others. Tyrrell said the area his team is in, which is northcentral, near Interstate 55, has a lot of downed trees and damaged buildings, but other areas of the state are worse.

“This is a good location to work from and be able to help people throughout the state,” he said. “Everyone here is extremely thankful and hospitable, and I’m very proud of my team for their hard work and excellent attitudes.”

In the past four years, the Alaska Air and Army National Guard has helped with emergency domestic response after hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The National Guard is the first military responder, assisting civil authorities and partner agencies with homeland security and response to state and national emergencies and disasters.

Candis Olmstead writes from Joint Force Headquarters at JBER, AK.