Katrina: Army Begins Combat Operations in New Orleans

The commander of Louisana’s National Guard contingent is calling the situation in New Orleans an “insurgency” and says they have commenced “combat operations.” This is, as best I can tell, not a satire.

Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans (Army Times)

Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back†in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “This place is going to look like Little Somalia,†Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.â€

Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy.


While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and police helicopters filled the city sky Friday morning. Most had armed soldiers manning the doors. According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Grishamn, a spokesman for the amphibious assault ship Bataan, the vessel kept its helicopters at sea Thursday night after several military helicopters reported being shot at from the ground.

Numerous soldiers also told Army Times that they have been shot at by armed civilians in New Orleans. Spokesmen for the Joint Task Force Headquarters at the Superdome were unaware of any servicemen being wounded in the streets, although one soldier is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during a struggle with a civilian in the dome Wednesday night.

“I never thought that at a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,†said Spc. Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. “And I never thought I’d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.â€

In more ways than one.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. charlotte says:

    I think WHAT is SCARY is that we have OUR MILITARY going into OUR COUNTRY to regain order and control, isnt this what our founding fathers were concerned with ( among other ideas) where are our citizens who have fire arms? have we become so milk fed that we can no longer protect ourselves, that we must have our national guard come in and protect us from ourselves.
    granted this is a catastrophie of epic porportions, it appears we have lost the distiction of being able to defend our selves our property our livihood.
    I guess Rev. Jesse Jackson will condone the looting of TV’s and stereos because “people” ( he means) ” african americans” had “no choice” people had to go and loot and rape and pillage because there was no food or water available.

  2. Chris in CT says:

    What frightens me more than a force 5 hurricane? Charlotte. I don’t think she will be donating bed linens to the victims of Katrina (and the victims or our government’s inaction). She needs them for the meet’n on Saturday night.

  3. Don says:

    While sending in regular Army troops is quite unusual, it’s not the first time in our history it’s been necessary.

    In 1863, President Lincoln ordered regular Army troops to New York City to end riots caused by a draft for fresh troops to fight the Confederacy. Those U.S. Army soldiers – marched in from the Gettysburg battelefield – were instrumental in ending the riots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Draft_Riot).

    I’m old enough to remember the 1967 & ’68 riots in Detroit, Washington and other cities. There were regular Army soldiers called in, in addition to the National Guard. Federal troops were sent to Detroit in ’67, according to this site (http://www.67riots.rutgers.edu/d_index.htm): “Within 48 hours, the National Guard was mobilized, to be followed by the 82nd Airborne on the riot’s fourth day. As police and military troops sought to regain control of the city, violence escalated. At the conclusion of 5 days of rioting, 43 people lay dead, 1189 injured and over 7000 people had been arrested.”

  4. Jared West says:

    I have been radicalized by the Battle for New Orleans, more so than 9/11 or 7/7 (London). I had said to someone, it would be an uncomfortable experience being a member of the white underclass stuck in the Superdome. It was worse than we could ever have imagined.

    I was content to be a grumbling middle-road conservative who criticised multiculturalism amongst safe colleagues but how can we not speak out after this? I started to blog the instant (!) I read white liberals at Slate lamenting how blacks were being hit hardest by Katrina and none of us self-satisfied whiteys care. I was disgusted! Since when did the Left abandon the white underclass? (This just in: Census Bureau release data on 30 August that whites are the only group in the US to see an increase in its poverty rate.) Since when did the Left not care about unprotected minorities?

    I am fuming mad that the unholy alliance between white liberals and black activists are going to try to spin Katrina to make blacks the only victims. Poor whites and poor blacks were left behind in New Orleans because they were poor and the predominantly-black leadership of New Orleans made no preparations for them. Moreover, once the rule of law was lifted, a wave of criminality swept through the black majority who was targeting lone whites for rape and murder.

    And what does the MSM do? Repeat the inflamatory mantra, from Jack Cafferty to Matt Lauer: “just because they are Poor and Black.” The shameful unconcern that white Liberals for the white underclass constitutes depraved indifference.

    The reality of being white in New Orleans during Katrina was worse than we thought. I blogged about some items at



    We have to get the word out by constructing an Alternative News Media…blogs, podcasts, internet tv. Kill your TV!

  5. Fitch says:

    Darn it, James! I had this very same idea running through my head earlier today. Now if I do it I’ll just be copying off of you. I guess we must both be great minds, because, well, you know the saying. Good work there!

  6. Daryl says:

    I still can’t figure out why there were people at all in that city when the Storm struck. What kind of smacktards are the leadership for leaving parking lots full of school and city busses behind to be submerged. What fools the people who willingly stayed to be drowned or thrown into this anarchy. How selfish those who left with an empty backseat in their vehicles. The police who threw down their badges in the face of adversity should be tried for desertion by the federal government. Looters and anarchists should be shot down for the dogs they are. Trapped individuals who armed themselves for protection from the looters and who do not immediately lay down their arms when authorities identify themselves should also be shot in this time of hightened adversity. In case no one noticed it the madmen have attempted to take over the asylum, the prisoners the jail, this is not a light hearted matter and should be carefully considered in that light. White, black, latino, french, american, whatever: criminal activity is criminal activity, and commision of criminal activity during a time of adversity like this should never be excused, rather it should be penalized more harshly than usual as it is times like this that show low character for what it truely is. And low characters who would neglect their duties as delegated to them by their superiors, (governor,is to President) (Evacuation Manager is to Mayor) (police officer is to Captain) Should be punished to the full extent that they may be by their superiors and those who would exploit those weaknesses in duly appointed authority should likewise be punished to the fullest extent that they may be.

    Or maybe I’m just sick and tired of listening to people whining about how others “owe them”

    Daryl A prairie viking from Alberta

  7. Jenn says:

    In response to the comment posted, “where are our citizens who have fire arms?”: well, part of the problem appears that there ARE citizens with firearms and they are shooting at the very same people that have come to rescue them. These rescue teams consist of our friends and family, rescue teams that have left behind families of their own in order to rescue a horrific number of people–people, I might add, that were not bullied by nature because of their economic status, religious affiliation, or color of their skin, but simply because they were in the path of its destruction. I agree, however, with the thought that these individuals creating more chaos during a time when it is almost unfathomable for more chaos to be had, should certainly pay a very high price. I cannot wrap my brain around the lack of morals, the lack of humanity some of these people-turned-monsters are exhibiting–rape, robbery, murder, etc. As for those that stayed behind and did not get out, I’m certain that many really had nowhere to go (perhaps had provisions been made in case of an emergency like this beforehand, that might have made a slight impact), but I’m sure that some of these people that stayed behind did so because they couldn’t believe it would actually ever come to this. Really, who would believe immediately beforehand that life as they know it would be completely wiped out within a matter of hours? How many of us would really be able to accept something of this magnitude might possibly be “on its way?”