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National Guard joins forces with Army Corps of Engineers

By Edward N. Johnson | Army News Service | Sept. 21, 2018

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2018 Hurricane Response   (Related Link)

CONWAY, S.C. - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers logistics and technical advisors join forces with South Carolina National Guard engineering battalions as part of Hurricane Florence response and recovery operations in Horry County, South Carolina.

"I just want to say what an honor it is for the Corps of Engineers to support our FEMA, local, and state partners in this post-storm period," said the USACE South Atlantic Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland. "One of the ways we're helping here is with flood mitigation efforts along U.S. Highway 501."

Philip Bethea, a construction engineer with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, underscored the importance of keeping the 501 corridor open as long as possible.

"At this point our goal is to keep at least one lane open in each direction of the highway to ensure local residents have access to medical services, food and supplies," said Bethea. "Fortunately the Army Corps and National Guard are helping make that happen."

Lt. Col. William A. Matheny, commander, 122 Engineering Battalion, is the South Carolina National Guard's senior engineer on the ground and at the center of efforts to mitigate the risk of flooding in the area.

"This actually isn't the first time I've had the privilege of serving with Brig. Gen. Holland," said Matheny. "She was my commander during a 2013 deployment to Afghanistan and we really appreciate the resources she and her personnel are able to provide in support of our operations here on the ground in South Carolina."

With that in mind, USACE personnel are working around the clock to support the effort.

According to Tommy Fennel, USACE's on-site liaison officer assigned to the Horry County Emergency Operations Center, there are USACE personnel from across the country integrated into state and local efforts to provide logistics and technical advice regarding Hurricane Florence flood response efforts.

"So far we've supplied more than 22,000 linear feet of wire mesh barrier material and 125,000 sandbags to this site alone," said Fennel. "These mission critical supplies are being deployed at the direction of the South Carolina Department of Transportation to help protect areas impacted by flooding."