A Texas-based U.S. Army unit drew on Iraq experience to provide hurricane relief in its neighboring state. The group dropped into New Orleans, Louisiana, set up vital communications, and then redeployed to another location and expanded its network without missing a byte.
After the winds of Hurricane Katrina subsided, the U.S. government launched a massive rescue and recovery effort in the devastated parishes and counties of Louisiana and Mississippi. The U.S. Defense Department played a major part in these operations, providing troops for law enforcement as well as supplies and equipment to aid beleaguered state and local governments. A key part of the military's mission was restoring communications to first responders across the region.
Preparation, determination and delegation were the U.S. Coast Guard's unstoppable trilogy to keep the lines of communication open as the powerful winds of hurricanes Katrina and Rita blew into the Gulf Coast. The Coast Guard's primary communications unit for the entire region was directly in the path of the first storm, but the organization was able to remain connected with its personnel and was operational within hours. The unprecedented feat was accomplished in large part with the help of the commercial sector, Coast Guard auxiliarists, and site survey and repair teams from multiple locations.
The wind and waves from Hurricane Katrina had scarcely abated along the Gulf Coast before Washington, D.C., itself was awash in pleas for inquiries into a failed disaster relief process. These were followed closely by legislative proposals for substantial changes in roles and missions in the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.