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NEWS | Aug. 30, 2012

Army North launches advance element to prepare for Hurricane Isaac

By Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos U.S. Army North Public Affairs

An advance element of 20 Soldiers and civilians from U.S. Army North set off on a convoy from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Aug. 27 en route to Camp Beauregard, located northeast of Pineville, La., to be ready to respond if requested as part of a federal response effort to the affects of Hurricane Isaac.

The group moved via one of the command's Sentinel vehicles, three of its Emergency Response Vehicles and four large SUVs as they prepared to spearhead the command's potential response, if called upon, to provide federal assistance in anticipation of landfall by Hurricane Isaac.

The storm was projected to make landfall Aug. 29 in the vicinity of New Orleans.

As the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the U. S. is once again focusing its gaze on the Gulf Coast as the storm bears down on the Louisiana coast.

"We are prepositioning our advance party in preparation to assist if there is any requirement for Title 10 (federal) assistance," said Lt. Col. Shepard Gibson, the medical operations officer for Army North's deployable command post (Task Force-51).

Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of the U. S. armed forces and provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the Department of Defense.

"We deploy and support state and local forces after the state requests federal support in responding to domestic emergencies and disasters," said Maj. William Nisiewicz, TF-51 information management network officer.

The decision to deploy the team was made only hours before they left.

"The advance party was notified around 1 p.m. that it would be leaving at 6 p.m. that day," said Maj. Sedrick Jackson, executive officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Army North. "Once they arrive in Louisiana, they will await further instructions."

While the Soldiers of TF-51 said they hope they will not be needed, they also know this is what they have trained to do.

"We have practiced for the mission," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Washington, TF-51 operations noncommissioned officer in charge. "Now it is game time."