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 Ã¢€œto take this city backÃ¢€ in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ã¢€œThis place is going to look like Little Somalia,Ã¢€ Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National GuardÃ¢€™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. Ã¢€œWeÃ¢€™re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.Ã¢€
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.
Ã¢€œI never thought that at a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,Ã¢€ said Spc. Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. Ã¢€œAnd I never thought IÃ¢€™d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.Ã¢€
In more ways than one.