Texas military responds to Gustav
By Capt Randy Saldivar, Texas Military Forces
/ Published August 30, 2008
BRYAN, Texas -- The Texas Military Forces pre-positioned the Standing Joint Inter-Agency Task Force here Friday in anticipation of a Hurricane Gustav landfall in Texas or Louisiana.
Texas Governor Rick Perry authorized the activation of up to 7,500 troops Friday enabling his military leadership to move and posture forces from across the state to respond to the now Category three hurricane.
"We moved into the armory here at Bryan to better position ourselves to respond to the storm," said Col John F. Nichols, Joint Task Force Gustav Commander. "Mother Nature will drive where we point our forces next here in Texas or if need be, to help the folks in Louisiana or wherever the storm may go."
Providing search and rescue teams, mass air evacuation, shelter management and supporting local, state and federal agencies are just some of the missions the force consisting of Air and Army National Guard and Texas State Guard personnel are undertaking.
Forces from around the state are moving into position to conduct the various missions the TMF are tasked with. C-130 Hercules aircraft from Texas Air National Guard's 136th Airlift Wing in Ft. Worth are scheduled to evacuate special needs patients from the Beaumont area to San Antonio.
Ground evacuation hubs and bus staging areas are being set up and manned by TMF in Beaumont, Houston and other areas to move and assist citizens from Louisiana and Texas fleeing the storm.
The Texas forces will also set up and man points of distribution of ice, water and rations under the direction of state civilian agencies once the storm has passed.
"It's difficult for trackers to pinpoint exactly where the storm will go," said Nichols. "But we want to be ready well before the storm hits so we can help the people who need it after it has gone through."