USA — Guard Completes Sandbag, Barrier Missions on Gulf

BATON ROUGE, La., June 8, 2010 — The Louisiana Nation­al Guard has com­plet­ed two mis­sions as part of its response to mit­i­gate the effects of the Gulf of Mex­i­co oil spill, offi­cials said today.

Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Co. completed construction of a Tiger Dam water diversion system
Mem­bers of the Louisiana and Flori­da Nation­al Guards pre­pare to hook a sling attached to an emp­ty fuel tank up to a CH-47 Chi­nook heli­copter at South­west Pass just off the coast of Venice, La., June 7, 2010. The Louisiana Nation­al Guard’s 1023rd Ver­ti­cal Engi­neer Co. com­plet­ed con­struc­tion of a Tiger Dam water diver­sion sys­tem on South­west Pass in an effort to keep oil from reach­ing inland.
Louisiana Nation­al Guard pho­to by Army Sgt. Michael L. Owens
Click to enlarge

Guard mem­bers yes­ter­day com­plet­ed sand­bag­ging eight breach­es on Pel­i­can Island in coastal Plaque­m­ines Parish, La., and installed almost six miles of a shore­line pro­tec­tion sys­tem near Venice, La. 

The sand­bag­ging oper­a­tion, start­ed on May 13, repaired gaps in the bar­ri­er island caused by coastal ero­sion by drop­ping large sand­bags, rang­ing from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds each, from heli­copters. Offi­cials believe these efforts should help mit­i­gate the impact of the oil spill that’s approach­ing the Louisiana coastline. 

Mem­bers of the 843rd Hor­i­zon­tal Com­pa­ny and the 2225th Mul­ti-Role Bridge Com­pa­ny, 205th Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion, filled the sand­bags on the ground. The 1st Bat­tal­ion, 244th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment air­lift­ed the bags in place with UH-60 Black­hawk helicopters. 

The 244th, with assis­tance from the Nebras­ka, Illi­nois, Mis­souri, Mis­sis­sip­pi and Flori­da Nation­al Guards, flew about 243 flight hours in sup­port of the mission. 

The breach­es ranged from 100- to 300-feet-wide, each, and the mis­sion took more than 3,300 sand­bags to complete. 

The Louisiana Guard also com­plet­ed the con­struc­tion of an almost six-mile long Tiger Dam shore­line pro­tec­tion sys­tem near Venice, La., in the South­west Pass of the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er Delta. 

The 1023rd Ver­ti­cal Engi­neer Co., head­quar­tered in Oak Grove, La., con­struct­ed the bar­ri­er across a beach in the South­west Pass as a sec­ondary line of defense to the boom line, to pro­tect the nat­ur­al marsh­lands from the approach­ing oil. 

The 1st Bat­tal­ion of the 244th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment based in Ham­mond, La., air­lift­ed sol­diers in and out of the work­site dai­ly due to its remote location.

All of the inflat­able bar­ri­er mate­r­i­al and equip­ment had to be sling loaded and dropped in place by the Blackhawks. 

The water diver­sion sys­tem, nor­mal­ly used for flood con­trol, replaces sand­bags and is com­prised of a series of inter­lock­ing flex­i­ble tubes that are inflat­ed with water to form a tem­po­rary dam or levee. 

As work crews laid out the Tiger Dam mate­r­i­al for assem­bly and infla­tion, oth­er crews worked pumps to fill water into tubu­lar sections. 

Once com­plet­ed, the 1023rd worked with the Flori­da Nation­al Guard’s 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 111th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment, to trans­port equip­ment from South­west Pass to Venice for clean­ing and maintenance. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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