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)