Thirty members from the 202nd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (Red Horse) out of Camp Blanding, Florida, were in New Orleans on Saturday assisting with Hurricane Ida cleanup.
The squadron assisted the New Orleans Parks and Parkways in removing debris and downed trees from roadways.
The National Guard says that Florida is one of 10 states participating in disaster relief efforts in Louisiana through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
The team worked alongside the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th Civil Engineering Squadron with chainsaws, skid steers and bobcats to remove trees and limbs from driveways and roads in New Orleans residential areas.
“Red Horse is a heavily mobile, rapid engineering group that is here to help aid in recovery and route clearing,” said Staff Sgt. James Bishop, 202nd RHS heavy equipment operator. “Any time we have downed trees, we want our guys to come is as quick as possible, take care of the folks that are here, make sure they have access in and out of their areas, so they can get the help they need.”
New Orleans Parks and Parkways have been working with small crews but needed the heavy equipment and personnel that Red Horse offered so people can return to their homes, the National Guard said.
“I’ve been working with a small crew, that doesn’t have heavy equipment, for the last few days that are filling in the gaps of the larger equipment crews because there is so much to be done,” said Andrew Billon, a Parks and Parkways arborists. “Any help we can get is amazing. I have this huge, awesome crew of National Guard folks that have shown up with vigor and energy, helping out a ton.”
According to Spc. Tavia Biles, a combat engineer with the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Orleans has been very friendly and welcoming of the Red Horse team.
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