Louisiana National Guard not needed for Irma relief

Sgt. Jason C. Carroll, electronic warfare specialist with the Louisiana National Guard's 528th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, carries a young resident through flooded streets in Monroe, La, March 10, 2016. (Photo: Spc. Tarell J. Bilbo)

SLIDELL, LA. (WWL-TV) – The Louisiana National Guard will not deploy 150 guardsmen to Florida Tuesday help with relief after receiving an order to stand down.

More than 6 million Floridians were ordered to evacuate Irma’s path, anticipating that the storm would do serious damage. Florida Governor Rick Scott called for reinforcement from other states National Guard.

Louisiana National Guard’s 922nd Engineer Company, the 528th Engineer Battalion, and the 1023rd Engineer Company was preparing to deploy more than 150 guardsmen to Lake City, Florida. The units were to help in response and recovery efforts.

More than 65 vehicles and equipment were to convoy from Camp Villere in Slidell and travel to Lake City to join other National Guard units.

“Anytime that we can muster and get together and deploy is a great training exercise for us,” Col. Cindy Haygood, of the 225th Engineer Brigade, said.

Haygood said that the LNG received orders to muster 400 soldiers in support of Hurricane Irma. Saturday, one engineer group, the 922 Horizontal Engineer Company, was asked to be sent forward.

Haygood said roughly around midnight Monday, the LNG received word that Florida had enough soldiers on the ground to provide mobility.

Engineer teams were on standby to clear roads and protect first responders moving into the impacted areas.

Irma left nearly 7 million residents in Florida without power. Trees were uprooted, power lines knocked down, homes and businesses were flooded and cars destroyed.

Residents who evacuated now want to return home, but cannot because in some areas it is still too dangerous.

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