SF Soldiers help local community during flood


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice

COLUMBUS, Ind. (Sine Pari, June 19, 2008) – “To Liberate the Oppressed,” is the motto and primary mission for every U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier.

They spend months training for a mission that could possibly last only hours and work aside foreign forces to fight an enemy that others run from.

On June 7, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group Soldiers from the West Virginia Army National Guard put aside their elite war-fighting skills to help liberate hundreds of Indiana Hoosiers from a dangerous flood that displaced thousands of residents and killed three.

While traveling to Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center to train on various weapons systems, several advance party team members were separated by dangerous storms that eventually dumped more than 10 inches of rain in a short period of time.

As one half of the team arrived at CAJMTC safely, another was hampered with vehicle problems due to the high waters.

Lead by Staff Sgt. Dan Casey, of Paintsville, Ky., the stranded team was suddenly surrounded by quickly rising flood waters in Columbus, Ind., located 10 miles from their destination.

Armed with years of experience in dangerous, harsh environments, the Kenova, W.V.-based group quickly changed focus and did what every American would do – helped those in need.

With high waters inching to near the 1,000 year flood plain mark and medium tactical vehicles at their immediate disposal, the team that reached CAJMTC decided to head back into the heart of the storm to help their fellow comrades and others in need.

Upon arriving in Columbus, local emergency authorities asked the Soldiers for assistance to aid in rescue efforts.

Although their vehicles were loaded with military equipment for the scheduled three-week training at CAJMTC, Soldiers quickly unloaded the trucks and prepared for rescue operations.

"We had some guys who had some boat experience, and we had a medic," said Lt. Col. H.B. Gilliam of Huntington, W.V., battalion commander. "We started helping rescue people throughout the area we were in."

Hundreds of residents were trapped by rising waters from the nearby, overflowing White River and Princes Lake Dam, their only hope was the small band of Soldiers from 19th Special Forces Group were determined to make a bad situation better.

As the team kicked the rescue operations into high gear, small stories of heroism quickly surfaced throughout the community.

Command Sgt. Major Kevin Harry, of Milton, W.V., the senior enlisted Soldier in the battalion, was credited with saving a woman's life as she was being swept away by raging waters.

"I had positioned the boat just enough as to where, when she came up with her hand, I grabbed her hand and secured her to the side of the boat," said Harry.

With local residents out of harm’s way, the team knew it was just an ordinary day for the Special Forces Soldiers.

"The best thing was that the local police or state police who knew the area guided the vehicles through the city streets," Casey said about the help they received from local rescue efforts.

"We'll rend aid at anytime possible," he said.

Harry says it was a difficult and trying situation, but the team was in the right place at the right time.

"We were just reacting,” Harry said. “We were fortunate and I think that Columbus was fortunate we just happened to have vehicles that could forge some of the water in the areas.”

Whether these elite Soldiers are on the front lines fighting terrorists or providing security and safety for hometowns around America, they will accomplish the mission set for them and do it without hesitation.

“I told my men in the beginning, do whatever you can to help them out,” said Gilliam.
Way to go, guys!

I'm originally from Huntington and have been, uh, detained by the sheriff in Kenova }:-)
The Indiana LRS unit and a shit-load of Marines were also in heavy responce to the flood since they were doing a couple weeks traing at Atterbury right up the road...