USA — Louisiana Guardsmen Continue Oil Spill Response

GRAND ISLE, La., May 11, 2010 — The Louisiana Nation­al Guard is con­duct­ing around-the-clock oper­a­tions to fill in a breach near here in sup­port of oper­a­tions relat­ed to the oil spill off the Louisiana coast.

Louisiana National Guard bulldoze
Heavy equip­ment oper­a­tors from the Louisiana Nation­al Guard bull­doze sand to close a strait between two penin­su­las near Grand Isle, La., May 10, 2010. The clo­sure will be a sec­ondary defense in addi­tion to the boom line in the Gulf of Mex­i­co to pre­vent an oil spill from reach­ing fur­ther inland.
U.S. Army pho­to by Staff Sgt. Denis B. Ricou
Click to enlarge

Guards­men of the 922nd Hor­i­zon­tal Engi­neer Com­pa­ny, 769th Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion, have been work­ing day and night to fill in a 700-foot gap on Elmer’s Island in an effort to keep oil-taint­ed water out of an area that is crit­i­cal to the state’s shrimp and tourism indus­tries.

“It is impor­tant that we keep this oper­a­tion con­tin­u­ous,” said Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Lan­c­los, who is in charge of the night oper­a­tions. “If we were to take night­ly breaks before the entire mis­sion was com­plete, the water’s cur­rent would push and break the sand. Each morn­ing, we would be back to Square One.”

Using five dump trucks, the Guards­men trav­el about two miles round-trip along the shore­line to pick up and drop the sand. After the dump trucks drop the sand, a bull­doz­er push­es and packs it into place.

“It is a real­ly com­plex mis­sion, but the engi­neers can han­dle it,” Lan­c­los said. “Because we are work­ing after night­fall, we make sure safe­ty is an impor­tant ele­ment, espe­cial­ly work­ing so close to water.”

Many of the Guards­men, includ­ing Baton Rouge, La., native Army Spc. Collin M. Par­ent, had nev­er been to Grand Isle, but real­ize they have a very impor­tant mis­sion on their hands.

“I know that we are help­ing Louisiana out tremen­dous­ly, espe­cial­ly since the gov­er­nor and adju­tant gen­er­al came here yes­ter­day,” Par­ent said. “What we are doing is very impor­tant, and I am hap­py to be a part of it.”

Louisiana Nation­al Guard