HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, GA. -- With the flooding of Southern Eastern Texas and the President of the United States announcing a state of emergency the U.S. Army and other agencies are coming to the aid of the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
C Company, 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade has been training for this very situation, to deploy a comprehensive equipping strategy to meet critical requirements for equipment and manpower to answer the nations call and render aid for those in need during this natural disaster.
"In the last month we have trained for this and many other scenarios," said Capt. Alyca Waldrop, C Company, 63rd ESB, commander. "We are trained and ready to help in any way we can. An Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise is designed to exercise the movement plans of a unit to deploy with little time to prepare . All deployable units normally participate in an EDRE annually. If executed realistically, an EDRE can be the most valuable evaluation process for commanders to determine their strengths and weaknesses in a deployment. Having recently completed this training we knew exactly our shortfalls and how to adapt and overcome them. I'm humbled to be their commander and i'm glad my Soldiers will have a direct impact on bringing relief to the people of Texas."
When the soldiers get to their destination they are expected to hit the ground running, breaking into three teams providing both secure and unclassified networks to various agencies who need them to assist with relief efforts. In addition to communications support teams we are sending a maintenance support team to keep them running after that it's business as usual helping where they can and giving the support they're most notably known for communication.
"I can't emphasis how much they love what they do and they're the absolute best at what they do," Lt. Col. Indira Donegan, 63rd ESB, commander. "When it comes to providing network support and signal communications, so for us this is game time, time for us to show our skills. You can't make a better place for us to do this than in our own backyard helping fellow Americans during their time of need."
The role of U.S. Armed Forces during any humanitarian assistance event is to rapidly respond with support to help mitigate human suffering and prevent further loss of life.
"We have four soldiers that just left this morning from the areas effected by Hurricane Harvey, they still have families there so this is personal to them, they're ready to help, they want to help and we will do our absolute best to provide whatever support possible to help." said Donegan. "We'll be there until the requirement of support isn't necessary anymore. We have a bunch of different signal and communication assemblages, but for this mission we are sending a smaller package which is very expeditionary and easy to maneuver and brings a very able capability for agencies on the move."
The issues with tropical storms and hurricanes is the effects after the initial storm, the national weather agency is calling for another 25 inches of rain on top of the flooding levels of rain already brought to areas on the Texas coast. Agencies helping and those that are sending help will be crucial in the stabilization and relief needed to bring normality back to the cities devastated by this hurricane.