National Guard Stands Ready for Tropical Storm Edouard

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 4, 2008 - Up to 1,200 National Guard citizen-soldiers and -airmen stand ready today as Tropical Storm Edouard approaches Texas.

With about 1,000 Guard members serving overseas, the Texas National Guard had more than 20,000 troops to draw from in the state, Army Maj. Gen. Charles Rodriguez, the adjutant general, told Fox News. "We have plenty of folks to help," Rodriguez said. "It's just a matter of responding appropriately."

Residents should have food, water, prescribed medications and ice stocked in advance of the approaching storm, Rodriguez said.

The Texas National Guard was requesting medical evacuation teams from other states in case any coastal medical facilities had to be evacuated by air, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

"We are being assisted by our Air National Guard in Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia," Army Col. Bill Meehan, public affairs officer for the Texas National Guard, said.

Tropical Storm Edouard comes in the wake of July's Hurricane Dolly. More than 890 members of the Texas National Guard, numerous land vehicles, seven helicopters and an RC-26 surveillance aircraft helped with transportation, distribution of supplies, and search and rescue after Hurricane Dolly, in an operation that ended yesterday.

Meehan said Guard troops are more than ready for another storm.

"Morale is always high in Texas," Meehan said. "We look forward to serving the citizens of Texas, and always have and always will. When they need us, we will be there."

Meehan said the Texas Guard would have several likely missions if the need arises. "We would anticipate operating points of distribution; shelter; communications; logistics; transportation of food, water and ice; and medical care," he said. "We will assist with damage assessment."

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning. Late this morning, Edouard was about 160 miles south-southwest of Lafayette, La., and was moving west at about 8 mph, the weather service reported.

The center of the storm was expected to be off the coast of southwest Louisiana or near the upper Texas coast by tomorrow morning, the weather service stated.

A storm surge and heavy rain -- up to 10 inches in Texas -- were both predicted. The storm could be a near-hurricane by the time it makes landfall and might spawn tornadoes, the National Hurricane Center reported.

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

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