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MajorKong
Sentient Acronym Storage Facility


Joined: 24 Jul 2003
Posts: 1100
Location: Home Sweet Bunker

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have attached a portion of an email that I received today from a fellow Army MARS member in Mississippi. This person also serves as a Master Sergeant in the Mississippi State Guard (which is an organization similar to the National Guard, but unpaid and solely available for State duty).

I have not corrected any of his spelling, so don't pick on me. But it gives you an idea of life without the high tech that we take for granted from day-to-day. And perhaps it may renew your faith that some decent people still exist in our country. All of the practice we get on HF and VHF radio nets passing simulated emergency traffic has seemingly paid off.

john (Emergency Operations Officer-Eastern US for Army MARS)

---------------------------------------
Elements of MS Army Mars (aaa4ms & aam4ems) deployed as part of the MS State guard in support of the MS Med Det. After a somewhat long and arduous road trip we arrived on location at the Biloxi Special Needs Shelter sited at the Biloxi High School.

Occupants of the shelter consisted of a total of 1400 persons mostly nursing home and hospice patients. a very large part of them geriatrics suffering from a wide verity of mostly age related illnesses, diabetes, COPD, Heart Failure, Alzheimer's, Dementia etc. The occupants had had only scant food and water and had been without power, water, sanitary facilities since sometime late Sunday evening. The staff (Three nurses and one doctor) were totally overwhelmed and near exhaustion, they were almost completely without even the most basic of medical supplies. The scene was one of abject horror. A large part of the population was nonamblitory and had been reduced to relieving themselves where they lay. The smell was almost overpowering! The Staff had been doing their absolute best but were hampered in their efforts by a shortage of manpower, and material. Each one of them is a true hero having braved the fury of the storm to remain at their post rendering aid to their helpless charges, they saved several lives mostly by dogged determination and strength of will.

Upon arrival I began erecting Antennas and setting up a commo room with the help of several Ms State Guard members.

Captains Dean and Edwards began laying out a power grid consisting of extension cords fabricated on the spot using #12 Romex and terminal ends. In short order there were three portable generators up and running supplying power for vital services, cooling fans, O2 concentrators, etc.

Equipment for the commo section consisted of a very large heavy Harris commercial HF rig and a Yaesu 817 tuned to the local vhf repeater. Several handy talkies were procured to provide internal comms. Contact was made with local assets (Ambulance dispatch, Keestler AFB, MS State Police, and the Eoc's for Harrison, Hancock, and Jackson counties.via the local vhf repeater.
Antennas consisted of a half wave dipole erected between to lamp posts with the assistance of a Wrist Rocket sling shot and a Zebco fishing reel. A haul up line was thrown over the lamp post arms with the slingshot and the Ant. hoisted into position (All those years of shooting at street lamps with a slingshot as a kid finally paid off!)

Initial contact with MS Army Mars assets was made via the regular net later that evening. At that point the commo section settled into a routine of monitoring, passing traffic and fueling and maintaining the generators.

Traffic consisted of several requests for ambulance assistance, a dustoff for the evacuation of four critically ill patients, and request for supplies and materials.

The rest of the detachment divided themselves into teams and began work, a group commandeered the school cafeteria and began preparing food found in the cooler, Up to that point the occupants had been subsisting on one half a hot dog twice a day. The cooking crew found a truck load of watermelons in the vegetable cooler which proved to be a godsend.

The medical crew under the leadership of Col. Anita Batman and Capt. Lanny Pritchard Fell to with a will and was instrumental in the saving of several people who were near death. Even though hampered by extremely limited manpower, almost nonexistent medical supply, and manifest exhaustion, the medical detachment worked so diligently that in the time between our arrival Tuesday evening and our departure the next Monday morning no one passed away in our shelter.
Over the next days supplies began to arrive and began to improve rapidly, a highpoint for me was when a Budweiser truck arrived with a load of water canned in beer cans, I could not have been any happier even if they had been filled with real beer!

Through out the remainder of the week beginning on Thursday additional assets began arriving at an ever increasing rate and we stood down and rotated out Monday morning arriving back home by mid afternoon.

The reservation of our operating frequency on a twenty-four hour basis was a real help and comfort, those MS Army Mars members who monitored the frequency from their home stations deserve our sincerest accolades and praise for a job well done.

While The part HF played cannot be minimized the real star of the show was vhf allowing quick access to a wide verity of assets, without which the out come of the operation would have in no way been nearly so favorable.

The favorable outcome of this operation is directly attributable to the character,knowledge, skill and bravery of the many people who voluntarily left their homes and families to help people they for the most part did not even know. The definition of heroism in it's truest form!

Respectfully submitted:
Sept. 13 2005
Msg xxxxxxx

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John Scoggin
Token Old Guy of TechHouse
Army Signal - You can talk about us, but you can't talk without us!
Manuevers without Signal is just camping in the woods.
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BrianW
Court Jester


Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 7505
Location: Probably an ice rink in Newark

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Awesome job, John! You're definitely a hero to us back home.

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MajorKong
Sentient Acronym Storage Facility


Joined: 24 Jul 2003
Posts: 1100
Location: Home Sweet Bunker

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

BrianW wrote:
Awesome job, John! You're definitely a hero to us back home.


All I did was sit on my butt and do the radio thing. Unfortunately, I was recovering from an angioplasty...

The guys and gals in MS (and surrounding states) stepped up to the plate and did very well. They have not been standouts in our exercises for several years, but they pulled it together in a pinch.

We have a major comm exercise for the amateur radio community and hospitals in Delaware on 1 October. Interest is high after we saw what happened on the Gulf Coast! I will be finishing (I hope) the radio-based email system for the State this evening (in Harrington).

john

_________________
John Scoggin
Token Old Guy of TechHouse
Army Signal - You can talk about us, but you can't talk without us!
Manuevers without Signal is just camping in the woods.
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailVisit poster's website
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