An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Sept. 2, 2020

Louisiana debris clearance teams go to work after hurricane

By Capt. Larissa Lambert 159th Fighter Wing

LAKE CHARLES, La. – A debris clearance team from the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th Civil Engineering Squadron deployed to Lake Charles Aug. 29 following the landfall of Hurricane Laura.

The Airmen arrived with debris removal equipment to clear the roadways of the hardest-hit areas in and around Calcasieu Parish.

“We have all kinds of random debris clearing tools,” said Master Sgt. Gary Lipkos, heavy equipment noncommissioned officer. “I’ve got 10 personnel with me and seven chainsaws. I have two skid-steers with grapple hook attachments, support lift attachments, some multipurpose bucket attachments and sweeper attachments capable of clearing debris off of roads.”

Most of their tasks have involved removing downed trees, branches and rubble from roadways to allow residents access to their homes to assess damages caused by the devastating Category 4 hurricane. Many homes have structural damage caused by fallen trees and downed power poles, and other homes have collapsed.

“Our main task is debris clearance,” said Senior Airman Royal Barnes, heavy equipment journeyman. “We’ve basically just been going to clear the main roads and big debris out of the streets so that people can travel and get to their houses.”

Additionally, the 159 CES team has cleared parking lots of businesses and government agencies for use as the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and as a potential civilian command center and or lodging location for relief crews.

“Yesterday we cleared a parking lot for what is going to be the new TOC for the 256th,” Lipkos said. “This morning, we’re here at the Calcasieu Parish government campus clearing debris away from them so they can set their tent city or their mobile command center out here on their city streets.”

Some Airmen have compared the level of damage and destruction in the parish to what they experienced after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding parishes 15 years ago.

“It kind of looks like Katrina because people have trees in front of their houses … or they have trees on top of their houses,” Barnes said. “So, it kind of motivates you, knowing how bad Katrina was, to help the people of Lake Charles. ... I know how it feels to be without your home for a while and be displaced because of a natural disaster.”

“There are a lot of people in need,” said Senior Airman Alejandro Peralta, structural engineering journeyman. “Hopefully, they are comforted and feel supported when they see the Louisiana Air National Guard working in the area.”

 

 

Related Articles
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing on F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base board an HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft on F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., during Exercise Agile Rage 2024, Feb. 29, 2024. The combat readiness exercise emphasized the execution of the Agile Combat Employment concept.
Air National Guard Wings Participate in Agile Rage Exercise
By Staff Sgt. Sean Madden, | March 26, 2024
SAVANNAH AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ga. - Almost 200 members of the 106th Rescue Wing, New York Air National Guard, participated in the Agile Rage 2024 exercise at the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center in Georgia Feb...

Master Sgt. Rasia Delin, originally from Dulac, Louisiana, is a member of the Houma Indian Tribe, one of the original inhabitant tribes of the area. She is currently assigned to Joint Force Headquarters, Louisiana Air National Guard (LAANG) as a personnel craftsman.
Native American Louisiana Airman Discusses Pride in Service
By Spc. Duncan Foote, | Nov. 10, 2022
NEW ORLEANS – November is recognized as Native American Heritage Month, a time to acknowledge the rich and diverse cultures and histories of Native Americans.Master Sgt. Rasia Delin, originally from Dulac, Louisiana, is a...

Staff Sgt. Jacob Tapley, 159th Civil Engineer Squadron, takes part in dismounted patrol tactics as part of basic combat skills training at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Ga., June 7, 2021. The training was led by the 159th Security Forces Squadron as part of unit operations readiness.
Louisiana Airmen maintain readiness at Air Dominance Center
By Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Sonnier, | June 14, 2021
SAVANNAH, Ga. – 159th Fighter Wing Airmen from across Louisiana gathered at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah for annual training, June 6–11. “Annual training allows us to network within our unit and across the...