26 October 2009
The Day the World Shook...final chapter...
From the Citizen Soldier side:
Did I mention during the 89' earthquake it was raining alot? Well, it was. When we were clearing the roads, our biggest threat was mud slides...triggered by the aftershocks.
By about a week after the big quake had hit, we'd been working a lot. The funny thing we noticed was, the only soldiers from our battalion at the quake site were from our company. (An Engineer Battalion is usually made up of 3 "line" companies and a HQ company.) Then all of a sudden, we had a few folks from the HQ show up. Wow, we thought they were sending help down (we could have used twice the troops we had) but the folks who showed up were from HQ company. R.E.M.F.s
None of the folks from HQ who showed up were "workers" they were officers and a sergeant major. Kind of useless trash when we needed truck drivers and heavy equipment operators....
These REMFs showed up in nice starched uniforms, with no field gear...a Major tried walking over to where some of our dump trucks were being loaded with dirt and debris from the road. I yelled at the Major to get away from the work site without a helmet on.
Then it happened. Our hometown newspaper and the state national guard magazine photographers showed up. They took lots of pictures of the HQ REMFs standing around in their nice clean uniforms pointing at the trucks and loaders like there were there actually doing something useful.
The photographers left, so did the HQ pukes. The next day our hometown paper had pictures of how the 579th Engineers was saving the world---with pictures of our HQ Poges on the front page. The next issue of the State national guard magazine had another HQ REMF on the front page....saving the world.
Not one of those assholes did a damn thing to help.
After we had moved as much dirt and rocks as we could, we were asked to do something to help make shelter for some who'd lost homes.
We went over to the county fair grounds and were told we needed to build wooden floors for some large tents. When we got out of our trucks, we saw dozens of families living in small camping type tents. Kids came up to us and asked if we had any food. We broke out cases of MREs and started to hand them out.
The rep' from the county told us they needed 10 floors built for 10 Army tents (GP Med) that would house about 20 people per tent. They had ordered plywood and lumber. The guy from the county figured it would take us about a week to build the 10 floors. We were there at 0800 hours, the lumber showed up about 1000 hours.
By 1700 hours, we had 7 floors built. We'd get the last 3 done the next day.
After the first week, the state started to send more troops down to help out. After about 2 weeks, we were able to rotate out and go home...some stayed, I went home. The last night I was there, we went into town for dinner....everybody wanted to buy us drinks. It was one of the best feelings I had ever had up to that point. We got to do a mission that the Army National Guard is all about...helping the citizens of our state. And it rained.