Soldiers of the 13th COSCOM deploy to New Orleans
Story by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office
Soldiers of the 13th Corps Support Command are deploying to New Orleans this week in support of Joint Task Force Katrina.
Members of the 4th Corps Material Management Center, the 49th Movement Control Battalion, Special Troops Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Company and elements of the 263rd Maintenance Company are deploying for a minimum of 60 days as the senior joint logistical support command for JTF Katrina, according to COSCOM deputy commander Col. Laurie F. Sattler.
JTF Katrina is the united response to Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused to the Gulf Region. The COSCOM will be joining units from the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division and the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group, said Lt. Col. Kenneth S. Lundgren, COSCOM G-3.
While the COSCOM is not in direct support of missions most people are aware of, such as rescue missions and law enforcement, it will have a critical part in sustaining the troops who do fill these roles and enabling them to continue to do their jobs, Lundgren added.
"[Soldiers with the HHC are] deploying to provide humanitarian relief to fellow Americans - I guess that's the best way to put it," explained the HHC first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Arthur M. Benavides.
COSCOM will be providing logistical support for the distribution of water, food and fuel, Benavides continued.
One major part of this support will be to provide water for consumption and bathing, said Lundgren. This task falls to Reverse Osmosis Purification Units.
"We're able to send six of these already to New Orleans and we're taking our own as well so we'll be able to provide water for the military and the other government agencies working around the area," Lundgren added.
Each of these machines can purify approximately 600 gallons of water per hour, Lundgren said.
Along with the ROPUs, the COSCOM is sending just under 100 vehicles for various missions, Lundgren went on.
"The smallest item would be the Humvee . . . to move people around within the city. The largest would be M916 tractor trailer low boy, with some dump trucks and some doziers, excavators . . ." Lundgren explained.
Over all, the COSCOM's mission is to help fellow Americans, Benavides said.
"It makes me feel very good to watch daily how things get better and better; see people's gratifying faces. The biggest impact will be to see everything improve. Looking forward to going down there getting this done for the people. Helps a lot to be able to go and do something for our own people versus other countries as well," Benavides continued.
"A lot of people believe we owe something to our fellow countrymen. I believe that myself," Lundgren added. "Help them rise again as the city that we know and we love as part of the United States."
Capt. Natasha S. Jones, commander of the COSCOM's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, briefs a fellow officer on details of the HHC's deployment to New Orleans in support of Joint Task Force Katrina Sept. 8. Photo by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th Corps Support Command's Headquarters and Headquarters Company sent its first convoy to New Orleans Sept. 8. This is the first of several waves the HHC is sending in support of Joint Task Force Katrina. Photo by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge