From the Citizen Soldier side: To continue with my earthquake story.... Oct 1989... We had gone to the nearby former Air Force base and set up our tents. We were very lucky so far in that only one of our Army cooks showed up. Thank God we would not have to eat our cooks food. These guys were the worst cooks I had ever seen...most were drunks who often over slept and never got us breakfast in time. It is really hard to describe how bad they were, but even dogs would not eat their cooking. So, they leaders set up contract feeding at Denny's restaurant. This was much better but things go rough when they run out of shrimp with the "Steak and all you can eat Shrimp dinner."
After a few days of sitting around doing nothing, we were ordered to load our stuff back into our trucks and go back to our armory. This had us totally confused...but as I found out much later, the State and all their leaders still couldn't figure out what to do. (I heard of this happening many time in later emergencies in other states as well.) Our State leaders didn't understand what the different National Guard units had the ability to do. They seemed to have thought that we could only shoot people or something.
We went back to our armory and our leaders put out the word that they needed about 30 people to take 15 Five Ton dump trucks to the Santa Cruz area for earthquake assistance. They had 50 volunteers, then picked out 30 of us from that 50. We were given a few hours to go back home and pack more uniforms and stuff, then report back and be ready to roll out. I was handed a military license to operate a dump truck...even though I had never driven one before. I figured I would have plenty of time to figure it out.
We arrived in the Santa Cruz, California area around 7 PM. We found a place for dinner and ate. The put us up in rooms at a local church resort. The buildings were only somewhat cracked and damaged from the earthquake (they all got red tagged and torn down later.) By 10 PM we had our first after shock form the earthquake...we got so used to this that we had bets on when they would come and how big they would be. Some would almost knock you off your feet. Kind of wild. (but still a hell of a lot better than Iraq.)
To be cont.