NEW ORLEANS – Approximately 60 members of the Louisiana National Guard’s 769th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, worked in partnership with the community of Krotz Springs and the Department of Transportation and Development to build protective flood barriers in Krotz Springs, Louisiana, in support of Operation Winter River Flooding, Jan. 9, 2016.
The Guardsmen worked in 18 separate locations to fill and lay down sandbags, erect and fill HESCO bastions, and construct land berms around the perimeter of the city to prevent any flooding.
“We’re doing everything we can to fortify these levees to keep out any potential water and protect the community,” said Staff Sgt. James P. Cropley, wheeled vehicle mechanic with A Company of the 769th.
“Some of the locations are a little difficult because there are large holes in the levee that have been washed away or dug out,” said 1st Lt. Aaron J. Ulery, platoon leader with A Company and officer in charge of the mission. “For those holes we have to lay large culverts in, put some aggregate, then the HESCO barrier on top, and then fill those with sand.”
According to Ulery, the 769th intends to utilize approximately 1,350 cubic yards of sand to complete the mission.
The LANG assisted the city of Krotz Springs in 2011 in a similar situation when the cresting of the Mississippi River threatened to flood the community.
“It’s a good thing that the National Guard comes in and does things like this. It saves a lot of hardship,” said Carroll B. Snyder, mayor of Krotz Springs. “Our townspeople are really grateful for their effort. They really do a great job and we’re really proud of what they’re doing for us.”
The citizens have really shown their appreciation in offering assistance to the Guardsmen however they can, including preparing hot meals, offering places to shower, and even providing coffee to get their day going.
Krotz Springs Refinery has also aided the LANG in their mission, lending workers and equipment to supplement the workforce.
“They’ve placed planks across the levee … so we can get back there and not get stuck,” said Ulery. “They’re helping us move our equipment to other locations so we can have easier access to that as well.”
“It’s all working out really well with everybody coming together as one,” he added.
After completing the protective barriers, members of the LANG will remain in the community until the threat of flooding has subsided to monitor the area and ensure there are no further threats to the city.
“It is our responsibility to take care of and watch over everybody in this state and do what’s necessary to see that they are protected. And we will always keep that our number one mission,” remarked Ulery.