Soldiers Head from Baton Rouge to New Orleans

By: Erich Spivey
By: Erich Spivey

September 14, 2005
They waiting for days to get to work, but finally some Fort Gordon soldiers are now working in Hurricane Katrina’s hardest hit area, downtown New Orleans. News 12 continues our series of reports on members of the 93rd Signal Brigade.

“I’m a team chief of a ANTSC 93 Delta Van,” said Sgt. Tanya Barksbale, 93rd Signal Brigade.

Translation, Sgt. Tanya Barksbale provides a critical satellite link in the heart of Hurricane Katrina’s ground zero.

“Basically without communication, nothing can be done in the Army. We allow the infantry men to talk to the commanding general,” Barksbale said.

Just yards from the Mississippi River, her satellite beams over the Carnival cruise ship. From a bridge, that’s her satellite in the middle with the Iwo Jima ship in the background. President Bush stayed there over the weekend.

“I never realized how big they actually were until I tried to find a satellite right over one,” Barksbale said.

Later in the day, another convoy arrives with equipment to turn the satellite signal into usable Internet and teleconference communications. They’ve waited five days in Baton Rouge and now are setting up the first command center in New Orleans.

“When we left everybody’s spirits were high and just ready to come and help,” said Sgt. Anthony Tyre, 93rd Signal Brigade.

“We think we’re gonna go right in the mission and their company was in Baton Rouge for five days sitting idle. Finally, they got the call so they’re excited to get in and provide their services,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Middleton, 93rd Signal Brigade.

They do have some down time, time to chow on meals-ready-to-eat. This package was potatoes.

And there’s lots of support units here too, maintenance staff and even civilians that connect wiring inside the building.

“We talked about the fury of getting out of Augusta, GA, packing over the Labor Day weekend everybody’s adrenaline’s pumping,” Middleton said.

Working ‘above the rest,’ these Fort Gordon troops are on the mission at last.

The soldiers in New Orleans set up communications for the commanding general of the 5th Army Unit out of San Antonio. They’re one of the units directing the relief effort.


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