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  1. #1
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    05.25.18 @ 10:42 AM
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    Default When Mother Nature didn't care for the, "Big Easy".

    Ok guys, here's is the 1st installment of our days in New Orleans. This day starts on on Sunday Aug 28, '05. I was called here at home, by a District Chief, on our department, around 8am. He informed me that the Shreveport Fire Department U.S.A.R. team was going to be deployed down to Baton Rouge, to stand by and wait for a possible deployment into New Orleans to help out in Search and Rescue, after Katrina made landfall. I was on vacation from the fire department, and was told that I didn't have to go if I didn't want to, but who was I to miss out on the, "Big One" they've always talked about? I told the Chief to tell me where to meet and at what time. I was told that our time to meet was around 12:30pm at Central Fire Station in Downtown Shreveport, and that we would be on the road, heading down to Baton Rouge by 2pm. I told him I would be there, and we hung up the phones.

    I called my wife, who was on her way to church with the kids, of the info I was just given. She wasn't happy, but she totally understood. She turned the car around and headed back home. I began to pack everything I would need, for at least a week. I have 3 TV's on inside my house. 1 on the Weather Channel, 1 on MSNBC, and 1 on Fox News. I knew if Katrina remained a Cat 5 storm, with a direct hit on New Orleans, the devastation would be tremendous. When it came to New Orleans, anything higher than a Cat 3, would create havoc for the "Big Easy". I really had a gut feeling that what I was about to watch unfold, would be history making for our country.

    I finished packing, and went to have a early lunch with the family, at Copeland's. Durning lunch, I pretty much had to calm fears that was obvious in my family's minds. We left Copeland's, headed back home, so I could get my shit, and head down to Central Station. My kids didn't want me to go, so saying bye to them was a little tough, but we worked thru it, kissed the wife, and I was on my way. Once in the Tahoe, I called my mom and dad, to inform them that I was heading out. And like parents do, they pleaded with me to be careful. Told them I would be fine, but wish I could say the same for the people of New Orleans. We hung up.

    Got to Central Station around 12:15 or so. I found all of our equipment lined up on a side street, ready to roll out of town. Went inside the station, met my USAR team, and joked around with the other guys on duty at Central. Lots of laughing, bad jokes...etc like firefighters always do. Around 12:45, our commander called us all out to the back parking lot of Central Station, for a info briefing. He told us about what we could expect, our primary job that we'd be doing, once in New Orleans, and breaking us up into teams. We got our assisignments and our team desinations. I was paired up with a guy by the name of Chris Shamburger. Chris and I have been friends for along time, so I was really glad that he and I would be teammates. Our callsign would be Bravo Team 2. We we're all given our radio's, and the decision was made what frequency we would work off of. After some questioning by the team, and some small talk, we decided it was time to go.

    I was asked by our team Chief if I minded driving my Tahoe down, just to carry a few more people. I said that it wouldn't be a problem, but if my truck got any damage from the storm, I would take the payment out of this Chief's ass. I winked at him, and we began laughing. He knew I was kidding, but he told me, that any damage my truck got durning Katrina, we would both fly up to Washington D.C. and take it out of F.E.M.A.'s ass.

    We said our good-bye's to our brother's and sister's at Central Fire Station. They wished us the best of luck, and then the smart-ass comments started flying. 1 thing you got to realize about firefighters, it's like being in a college frat house. We all crack on each other the first chance we get. It's all in fun, plus, its comic relief for everyone.

    The Shreveport Fire Department trucks that we took with us were. 2 Medic Units (Medic 10 and Medic 14) 1 Heavy Rescue Truck, 3 District Chief trucks and 1, 14 Wheeler Search/Rescue U.S.A.R. truck. The USAR and Heavy Rescue truck took most of our heavy equimpment. The Medic Units were taking most of our medical equipment, and the District Chief trucks were support trucks.

    Our trip down I-49 was uneventful. We all turned on our radios so we could communicate with each other, while in our convoy. Alot of bad/dirty jokes were told to each other, while we cruised on down to Baton Rouge. The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky most of the way down to Baton Rouge. It was hard to really believe that a storm, almost the size of the state of Texas, was hanging out, just off the coast of Louisiana. The traffic in the northbound lane of I-49 was bumper to bumper. 1000's upon 1000's of people are running away, while we're pretty much the only traffic heading southbound, along with a few state police cars.

    We arrive into Baton Rouge around 5pm or so, get to the Office of Emergency Prepairdness (OEP), and start to unpacking personal gear. Once we get settled in, we all gather up around 7:30pm or so, and we all head out to eat at the Cadallic Bar and Grill to eat and have a few drinks. We're all in a great mood at this point. We all talk about what's to come and to refresh our primary objective, once we get inside New Orleans. By now, the first feeder bands of Hurricane Katrina are in Baton Rouge. On and off heavy rain, and a steady wind of 20-40mph. This would get worst as the night continued.

    We returned back to the O.E.P. office's and prepair to get some sleep. We know that the next day, when we wake up, things are gonna be ALOT DIFFERENT. Little did we know................


    Shreveport Fire Department Task Force 1 USAR Response Team: This is the roster of the first team, and their respected assignments within the Shreveport Fire Dept.

    1. Chief Bobby Robinson. Commander of Task Force 1. Assisstant Chief of A-shift.
    2. Chief Pete Moncrief (Retired) Assistant to Chief Bob, and Safey Officer.
    3. Capt. H. Johnson. Logicisic/personal officer durning this deployment. Assigned to Chief Bobby, on Car-3. A-shift
    4. Capt. Kelly Duke. EMS Supervisor Car-82 A- shift
    5. Capt. Marty Moss. EMT/Paramedic Engine 19 A-Shift
    6. Capt. Carl Mann. EMT/Paramedic Engine 17. A-Shift
    7. Capt Kerry Foster EMT-I, USAR Team Captain. Rescue 1 A-Shift
    9. Capt. Phillip Hashider EMT/EVT. SFD Maintance Division
    10. Capt G. Ralph. EMT/Hazmat Tech. Rescue 9 B-Shift
    11. Capt R. Beason. EMT/Dive Team Search and Recovery. Truck 20 A-shift
    12. Fire Driver R. Watkins. EMT/Paramedic Medic 17 A-Shift
    13. Fire Driver Chuck Justice EMT/Paramedic/Dive Team Engine 20 B-Shift (HH)
    14. Fire Driver Brooke Ingram EMT/Paramedic Medic 5 A-Shift
    15. Fire Driver David Ebarb. EMT/Hazmat Tech Truck 8 C-shift
    16. Capt Darrell Braniff EMT/Paramedic Engine 1 B-shift.
    17. Fire Driver Wynn Hutto. EMT/ARFF Truck 16 B-Shift
    18. Fire Driver Kevin Parker EMT Engine 10 B-Shift
    19. Firefighter Chris Shamburger. EMT/Paramedic Medic 15 A-Shift
    20. Firefighter John Gimminch EMT/Paramedic Medic 10 B-Shift
    21. Fire Driver Jason Johnson EMT/Paramedic Truck 7 B-shift
    22. Firefighter Mike Davis. EMT/Hazmat Tech Engine 1 A-Shift
    23. Firefighter Richard Davidson EMT/Hazmat Tech. Rescue 1 A-shift
    24. Firefighter Will Millsap EMT/ Hazmat Tech Engine 11 A-shift
    VH LINKS Resident Paramedic/Firefighter
    Copyright holder of all things, "<-----------------"

    UC<------Goal in life to be included in an HH sig-----

  2. #2
    Good Enough
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    07.19.13 @ 07:52 PM
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    This is gonna be a HUGE read, man.

    Keep it up. Just like this.

    And thank you for all that you've done.
    Last edited by The SLAWTERHOUSE Bug; 09.09.05 at 07:48 AM.
    Classic Van Halen. In Pace Requiescant.

    "...sure I'm on zoloft. That's so I don't hafta kill none o' y'all..." - Mike Tyson

    and by the way...

    Eat Us And Smile.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    03.03.18 @ 06:52 PM
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    Thank You


    That was amazing and you didn't even get into the storm part yet.

    Looking forward to the next installment (I think).

    You guys are awesome.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    10.23.15 @ 03:49 PM
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    Excellent post. It will be interesting have someone's first hand account of what went down. Thanks to you and all firefighters, police, guards, etc who have worked so tirelessly.

  5. #5
    Baluchitherium KT's Avatar
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    08.08.17 @ 06:44 PM
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    I can't wait to read your next "installment", HH. Thanks for sharing YOUR story with us. It's going to be hard to read, but I feel it's the least I can do (to listen to your story) after all you guys saw and went through.
    Meet me in Cabo!

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing! racefan8's Avatar
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    04.01.11 @ 06:59 PM
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    Sheesh HH - you went down before the storm?? I thought you went down to help in the aftermath. My God, your wife and kids had to be beside themselves. My brother-in-law (a Chgo burb fireman) jokes that somethin' ain't quite right about them since they always run in while the rats are smart enough to be running out. Y'all have a tough job, but ya know what? Your wife's job is just as tough.

    Whew - can't wait for the next chapter...
    Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
    Compassion is the basis of all morality.
    The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.



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