Tennessee National Guard answers the call for help after Hurricane Ida

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 12:18 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Currently, about 100 men and women with the National Guard out of Memphis are preparing to head out to help in the hurricane-ravaged areas of Louisiana.

It’s been a busy year for the Tennessee National Guard, not just due to weather, but also the pandemic.

After Hurricane Ida roared ashore as a powerful Category 4 storm, hundreds of thousands lost power and hundreds of water rescues have already been conducted in Louisiana.

Now, more help is on the way from Tennessee.

“We’re going to be there as long as they need us,” said Captain Donald Eli with the Tennessee National Guard’s joint force headquarters in Nashville.

The 1172nd Transportation Company out of Memphis got the call Monday to get ready for deployment.

“Just basically moving supplies to and from places and rescuing people anywhere they can be effective,” said Eli.

This latest mission is one of many for Tennessee National Guardsmen in West Tennessee. Over 580 guard members across the state are helping overworked hospital staff due to the high number of COVID-19 patients.

“We’ve never done a pandemic, so this is new for all of us, but that’s why we put on this uniform.”

Soldiers and airmen are also helping out in the devastating floods in Middle Tennessee.

“We’ve been busy these last couple of years doing stateside missions and abroad missions, but again it’s one of the things we signed up for,” Eli said.

Eli says the mission in Louisiana is a coordinated effort between local officials, FEMA, and the Louisiana National Guard to bring some much-needed relief to our neighbors to the south.

The plan is for soldiers to deploy Wednesday morning.

A total of 320 National Guardsmen from Tennessee will be heading to Louisiana to help.

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