National Guard’s Harvey rescues haven’t ‘slowed down’

MILES O’BRIEN: As we have heard, the scope of the recovery is staggering. There are some 24,000 National Guard troops deployed to assist local and state responders, and we’re still just in the rescue phase.

Colonial Steven Metze is a public affairs officer for Texas Military Department. We spoke a short time ago.

Colonel Metze, good to have you with us. I know you’re busy. We will get right to it.

Give us an idea of the scope of the deployment right now. Is this unprecedented for Texas?

COL. STEVEN METZE, Texas Military Dept. Hurricane Harvey Response: I looked it up today.

We haven’t deployed this many people since World War I. So, this is literally the most we have deployed in 100 years.

MILES O’BRIEN: Give us a sense of how many troops are in the field and the kinds of mission that they’re doing right now.

COL. STEVEN METZE: So, we’re getting a constant stream of troops and equipment every day. It’s constantly increasing, on our way to 14,000 organic to the state of Texas, plus the stuff that we’re getting from other National Guards, plus the stuff that we’re getting Title X federal troops in and equipment as well.

So, all those are coming in right now. There’s still a lot of people in imminent danger, so our focus right now is still search-and-rescue. We’re starting to do a little bit of critical life support, which is basically when you have organizations that have food and water that they need delivered. We help them get it to where it need to go. We set of points of distribution to help it gets to where it needs to go safely and orderly.

So, we’re starting to see a little bit of that. And there are several other roles we’re going to have to play before this whole thing is over. But we’re preparing for several contingencies as it stands right now.

MILES O’BRIEN: And I guess a lot of people wouldn’t be aware that the National Guard kind of has a mutual aid pact with other states. Tell us what kind of help you’re getting from out of state.

COL. STEVEN METZE: Absolutely.

Yes, we have — the governors between the states talk and put these agreements in place. I know right now we have helicopter search-and-rescue teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Nebraska, Arizona, Virginia.

I know we have search-and-rescue ground teams and boat teams from Utah, California. I think there are way more than that. Those are just the ones that I know off the top of my head. But we have got offers from every state,…

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