Sunday, September 04, 2005
I find this very disquieting.
September 02, 2005
Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans
By Joseph R. Chenelly
Times staff writer
NEW ORLEANS — Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”
Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy.
Dozens of military trucks and up-armored Humvees left the staging area just after 11 a.m. Friday, while hundreds more troops arrived at the same staging area in the city via Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.
“We’re here to do whatever they need us to do,” Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon, of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1345th Transportation Company. “We packed to stay as long as it takes.”
While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and police helicopters filled the city sky Friday morning. Most had armed soldiers manning the doors. According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Grishamn, a spokesman for the amphibious assault ship Bataan, the vessel kept its helicopters at sea Thursday night after several military helicopters reported being shot at from the ground.
Numerous soldiers also told Army Times that they have been shot at by armed civilians in New Orleans. Spokesmen for the Joint Task Force Headquarters at the Superdome were unaware of any servicemen being wounded in the streets, although one soldier is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during a struggle with a civilian in the dome Wednesday night.
“I never thought that at a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,” said Spc. Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. “And I never thought I’d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.”
Spc. Cliff Ferguson of the 527th Engineer Battalion pointed out that he knows there are plenty of decent people in New Orleans, but he said it is hard to stay motivated considering the circumstances.
“This is making a lot of us think about not reenlisting.” Ferguson said. “You have to think about whether it is worth risking your neck for someone who will turn around and shoot at you. We didn’t come here to fight a war. We came here to help.”
I'm all for giving someone a second chance, God knows I've had my fair share of "chances" but, with that said, these "thugs" are a lost cause in my mind. They are hardened criminals who don't even give a shit about themselves, let alone the innocent civilians caught in the middle. These gang members only know and respond to one thing; brute fucking force!
If you go in there and try to be diplomatic about this you're sure to have problems. It's ironic that some Soldiers are having second thoughts of re-signing for a second tour; I had second thoughts of signing a first tour with the National Guard years ago because there wasn't enough of these times and thought I would be bored. By now I would have been at a good rank to command a squad or small unit. Oh well!
Part of my dream-life-goal is to have a security company who would go into such places and secure a city block by block.
Trust me when I say these criminal elements are not to be underestimated. They should be respected for their will to do what ever it takes to survive.
I actually worry about the young National Guard Soldier who is still gullable and "cock-strong" charging in head strong underestimating these fools.
With this said, I've got to take a few steps back and re-evaluate my initial comments regarding this "storm". I commented on the initial reports before I realized just how bad it was for some people who really had no choice to stay.
I can put myself in the shoes of some of the family members not being able to afford to get out before hand.
This I know from first hand experience. Having to rely on someone else for survival sucks, it brings you down to a level you'd never thought you could find your self at.
I only wish I had the funds to get a few friends together and go down there and take on some of these criminal elements.
I do apologize for my initial "ignorant" rants on this subject. I guess I should have waited to see the full extent of the disaster.
I don't underestimate these criminal elements, in fact I consider this the element behind war in the Balkans, just a different culture. If you look at what went down in Kosovo in the 1980s you'll realize if it's not the same type of element, it's something close.
And you are right, it isn't possible to talk with people like that once they are hardened.