HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Texas National Guard members mobilized support personnel and vehicles Oct. 17 in response to flooding near Huntsville.
The Dallas and Fort Worth-based 949th Brigade Support Battalion received orders that day, effective through Oct. 20, to provide support to Texas Task Force 1 (a Texas-wide urban search and rescue team) in flooded neighborhoods near Huntsville and other parts of Texas.
As a result of record-breaking amounts of rainfall throughout Texas, many Texas neighborhoods and roadways fell victim to severe flooding. The task force, working under the direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, mobilized water-rescue personnel and boats to help flooded communities near Huntsville.
More than 25 Texas Guard members and nearly a dozen support vehicles in Huntsville partnered with the task force to help transport boats to and from flooded areas, transport supplies like water, food and cleaning materials to residents and helped evacuate stranded people, said 1st. Lt. Brendon Isenhower, the 949th's Huntsville-Task Force Commander.
"My Soldiers and I have a true passion for helping people," said Isenhower. "This is what we signed up for and we love it. We're always ready to lend a helping hand."
Guard members and task force first responders arrived at Huntsville's Army Reserve Center late Wednesday evening to stage boats, trucks, equipment and supplies ahead of 24-hour on-call duty to last through Saturday.
Thursday and Friday's missions consisted of surveying flooded neighborhoods and roadways outside of Huntsville for people in need, delivering hay bales to livestock surrounded by flood water and transporting personnel, supplies and equipment to and from flooded areas.
Saturday, the joint team spent the day delivering supplies, to include water, food and cleaning supplies, to people still living in flood-affected areas.
"Although most of us here have different jobs within the Army, we set priority on being ready and willing to help Texas citizens in whatever capacity necessary,"; said Spc. Denis Firstov, a combat medic in the 949th. "Most people may believe Soldiers only deploy overseas. But National Guardsmen respond to these events first and also deploy overseas when needed."
The National Guard task force in Huntsville returned home to Dallas–Fort Worth early Sunday morning while other National Guard units remain on active orders to assist with flood relief efforts in other parts of Texas, alongside Texas Task Force 1 and local authorities.