A Helicopter Tour Over Harvey’s Devastation Of East Texas

U.S. Army and Texas National Guard soldiers are working together on Harvey relief.

By Joey PalaciosSeptember 9, 2017 11:30 am|

From TPR:

Communities along the Texas coast are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey. It will take months or in some cases even years for things to return to normal. Some of the areas damaged heaviest by flooding are east of Houston in and around Beaumont. The Army and Texas National Guard have been assigned to help with recovery efforts. This week, TPR’s Joey Palacios flew with the army via helicopter to Beaumont to survey the damage from the storm as generals received updates from ground troops on recovery.

It’s 9:00 AM and three Blackhawk helicopters touch down at San Antonio’s Ft. Sam Houston. The fleet is headed to Beaumont, where U.S. Army North and the Texas Guard are providing support to victims in some of Harvey’s hardest hit areas.

Close to 3000 feet in the air, the flight takes just over two hours.

Two weeks ago, Harvey made landfall and began its extended stay in Texas.  Passing over Houston, lingering floodwater overtakes roads and apartment buildings are sitting like islands, while cars are still half submerged.

Cars in a Houston apartment complex are still submerged nearly two weeks after Harvey made landfall.

Landing in Beaumont at the Ford Entertainment Complex, the events venue now serves as the staging area for operations around Beaumont.

The Ford Entertainment Pavilion is surrounded by 18-wheelers and serves as the base of operations for Army North and the Texas National Guard

Lt. General Jeff Buchannan of U.S. Army North, and Brigadier General Pat Hamilton of the Texas National Guard are greeted by military personnel as they exit the helicopter. They’re immediately escorted to a meeting room for a briefing on recovery efforts.

The call for recovery efforts for Harvey was massive. General Hamilton says Gov. Greg Abbott called for the entire guard’s support – about 16,000 service members – and asked for Army support as well.

“The last plan for us – the worst case scenario – which was Hurricane Ike called for about 3,500 national guardsmen. That I think will tell you the scope of this storm,” Hamilton says.

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A blackhawk helicopter touches down at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio.