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NEWS | Sept. 27, 2018

South Carolina Soldiers erecting quick-deployment water barriers

By Tech. Sgt. Andrea Rhode 108th Public Affairs Detachment

GEORGETOWN, S.C. - South Carolina National Guard Soldiers from the 1220th Area Clearance Platoon, 1226th Utilities Detachment and 1227th Engineering Detachment based in Batesburg, South Carolina, built a HESCO water barrier Tuesday outside the Tidelands Health Georgetown Memorial Hospital.

The wall will protect a vital building outside the hospital, ensuring it remains operable during and after the projected flooding, which is part of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. HESCOs are rapidly deployable barriers in widespread use.

"We've completed several HESCO missions since we arrived," said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Spencer, 1220th Area Clearance Platoon leader and operation/readiness NCO for the Batesburg Armory."We worked on the 501 Highway in Conway, the water treatment plant, and now, here we are at the Georgetown Memorial Hospital."

The Soldiers from Batesburg were activated Sept. 11 and have been working long hours to ensure all the barriers that need to be in place are completed before the flooding begins.

"HESCOs have become our life," said Sgt. Cody Puckett, 1226th Engineer Company training NCO and heavy equipment leader."The corps of engineers come in and look at the elevation. They tell us what needs to happen, and we tell them what can happen with the equipment we have."

The team has been working around the clock.

"The Soldiers who haven't deployed haven't really been challenged to do a lot at this point in their careers," Puckett said."This gives them a chance to step up and become leaders in their own right. You may have an E-3 out here running these HESCO barriers. He's typically the low guy, but if he's completed enough of these projects, and he knows the setup, he can then tell others what to do and run that entire project by himself."

Countless Soldiers from the Batesburg Armory have been stepping up.

With the flooding about to begin, this team is hopeful the barrier they constructed holds firm and the hard work they put in pays off.

"My Soldiers have done a great job," Spencer said."Hats off to every one of them."