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LA National Guard endures extreme heat & humidity at Camp Shelby

Posted: 6:35 PM, Jul 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-23 19:35:05-04

CAMP SHELBY, MS -530 reserve soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of The Louisiana National Guard are training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi.The Acadiana battalion is taking part in an annual three-week event known as the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise.They say they couldn’t do it without the support from their families and community."These guys have careers, some of them own their own companies. And, they have to leave it for three weeks to come out and do their training, and we couldn’t do this if the community didn’t support us,” said Battalion Commander Scott Desormeaux.The majority of the soldiers in the 2nd Battalion are based in Acadiana, such as UL Kellie Duncan who serves as a medic in the battalion. "A lot of things going down! The first few days it was raining, so most of our casualties included things like trench foot and just messed up feet. The main priority out here is hydration. A really huge problem is “heat cats” which is essentially when your temperature reaches over a hundred degrees, so we’ve been trying to make sure we hydrate all our guys out here,” said Duncan.Duncan says the battalion had over 40 casualties in one day.One of them was Lafayette resident, Jonathan Carlock."I’ve never experienced it before. Just you’re walking and your body just gets weak and you start to get a little dizzy. I just kept going, thought it’d be alright. And, I just called for the medic, they came and checked me out and I had to go to the medic tent,” said Ammo Bearer Jonathan Carlock.Alex Ritter was on active duty with The U.S. Marines in Arizona and California for six years before coming home to Lafayette with his wife and three kids and joining the guard."The Marines train in urban combat a lot more in the desert, but here, being in Mississippi, the humidity is what gets this; it’s really hot and really humid so heat exhaustion is the main thing we have to watch out for,” said Grenadier Alex Ritter.LSU student Patrick Angelette wants to use his experience in The National Guard to bridge in active duty."I’m planning on going into active duty after I get my bachelors, and then after I put my time in with active, I think I’m gonna go to Law School,” said Rifleman Patrick Angelette.Mortar Platoon Leader Stefan Bernard says serving in the guard is as much about duty, honor, and country as it is serving Acadiana."I work for a manufacturing company. I do purchasing for the company. I’m involved with my church "All Cities." Just, we’re regular people when called upon we suit up and go out and do what’s expected of us,” said Bernard.