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    Air National Guard

    Deployment During Hurricane Gustav(02:29)

    The Vermont unit of the Air National Guard deployed to Louisiana in September 2008 to offer support after the devastation of Hurricane Gustav. Under state law, the Air National Guard provides protection of life and property, and preserves peace, order and public safety. As a critical resource in the community, the governor may call upon the Air National Guard to respond to natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes or civil disturbances.

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Voice Over: On September 2nd, 2008, the Vermont Air National Guard deployed to St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, in support of Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.

Speaker 1: Since Hurricane Gustav came in, the sheriff's department has been working double and triple shifts in some cases, and their employees were just tapped out, overwhelmed with the amount of requirements that came up. With the power outage, utility line repairs, FEMA and state distribution points for food and food stamp debit cards, so we're basically augmenting the sheriff's department.

Speaker 2: Following a hurricane event in a community, most of the work for a law enforcement agency comes after the storm is over with. And there are basic needs that have to be met. The first is traffic control. And you're dealing with deputies that have been out patrolling the streets, protecting property throughout the storm event, working non-stop, they're very tired. So to get in a National Guard unit that can help us with traffic issues, stores have to reopen, and many times when one opens and there are not many open, they get really overrun with people. So we need security at the entrances to stores, banks, gas stations, so the National Guard has been very helpful to us in that, in being able to provide security for these locations.

Speaker 3: I'm from the civil engineering unit, back at Vermont. I'm actually in the heavy equipment shop. I'm down here, helping the security forces unit. Just direct traffic, as you can see the traffic goes all the way out to the road, and we have another airman out there from security forces directing them in, and we're just trying to keep the traffic out of the road right now, and try to keep everyone from getting the road rage, and keep everyone calm, and just help everybody get back here.

Speaker 2: Here we have -- we're opening up an emergency food card center, where people who meet the criteria can get credit for food. Which they need. A lot of these -- a lot of the people here are sometimes lower income that did not get paid. They don't have a job that pays them when they evacuate. They could be local fishermen, or people that really, if they're not able to work, they're not able to make money. So they need some assistance, because we forced them to evacuate for the storm. So the National Guard is here, our unit from Burlington here has been a great help, as well as deputies from out of town, to be able to help us manage crowd control. You can see the effort it takes here just to manage a center like this. When you open this up, thousands of people show up. So to have assistance from a National Guard unit is invaluable. We couldn't do it without them.