By 2nd Lt. Alex Juan, Sgt. First Class Paul Meeker and Pfc. Tarell J. Bilbo
Louisiana National Guard
BATON ROUGE, La., (6/1/10) -- The Louisiana Army National Guard continued to support oil spill operations throughout the Memorial Day weekend.
The 769th Engineer Battalion and the State Aviation Command completed sandbag drop operations filling a 115-foot area in the vicinity of Trinity Island on May 27.
“I feel great about helping the Parish and helping protect this marshy area,” said Capt. Jeffrey L. Giering, commander of the 928th Sapper Company.
Their mission was to emplace 115 feet of 2,000 pound sandbags in the vicinity of Trinity Island in order to fill in a low lying area critical to oil spill mitigation efforts along Louisiana’s shoreline.
Inclement weather impacted their progress, but the Guardsmen were able to complete the project in less than two days.
“Our Soldiers, with the support of Aviation Command, stepped it up and protected the area,” said Giering.
Soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade continued to construct a sand-filled basket barrier begun on May 21 on the beach in Port Fourchon, La.
To date, the engineers have built about 2.5 miles of the Hesco basket barrier wall.
“Our expectation for this barrier wall is for it to protect the marshlands directly behind it,” said 2nd Lt. Paul D. Mounts, platoon leader with the 928th Sapper Company, 769th Engineer Battalion. “The marshlands are a home to nesting grounds for many different bird and animal species.”
The wall consists of about 1,000 Hesco Concertainer sections, each consisting of five linked baskets that are then filled with sand. The engineers have been assembling an average of 300 sections a day, said Mounts.
“We’ve been working very hard, filling each basket with as much sand as we can every day,” said Spc. Thomas G. Webb, a heavy equipment operator with the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company. “We’ve had good training, good operating, and I believe we’ve accomplished a lot since we began working.”
“The operations have been pretty smooth, especially with the help we’ve been getting,” said Mounts. “They’ve been spot on with our needs, whether it be billeting, food, or supplies.”
“As long as we get missions, we will continue to work hard to get them done,” said Webb.
Soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard’s 527th and 769th Engineer Battalions completed the Hesco basket barrier wall on the shoreline of Port Fourchon May 29.
The purpose of the 2.5-mile barrier wall is to protect Bay Champagne from encroaching oil. Bay Champagne is a coastal lake critical to Louisiana’s wildlife and its seafood industries.
“The guys here worked really hard to protect the estuaries behind the wall. It’s good to complete a project where you can visibly see the success of your work,” said 2nd Lt. Joshua Johnson, a member of the 928th Sapper Company, 769th Engineer Battalion.
The project began on May 21 and involved the emplacement of about 1,000 linked Hesco Concertainer basket units along the beach. The units, comprised of five Hesco baskets each, were filled with about 7,500 pounds of sand.
The National Guard was assisted in these missions by British Petroleum personnel and other civilian contract workers.