More than 100 Delaware National Guard members from the 1049th Transportation Company returned to the state today after delivering supplies and helping residents in parts of hurricane-stricken New York City.
The guards were deployed to New York City in coordination with the Emergency Management Assistance Compact following Hurricane Sandy.
As some of the 45 FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) and Humvees pulled in to the River Road Training Site in New Castle, Major General Frank Vavala, Adjutant General for the Delaware National Guard, and other guard members saluted the retuning soldiers and thanked them for their work.
“We’re elated and very jubilant to have our 1049th back,” said Gen. Vavala. “They did spectacular work up there, aiding the citizens of New York in this catastrophic disaster, and we’re real proud of the great job that they have done. I got around and talked to them. They we’re very enthusiastic. They have a great sense of self satisfaction because they know they helped Americans in need.”
The soldiers were set up at various bases around New York City including Brooklyn, Coney Island and Breezy Point. Many of the soldiers noted that the most devastated area seemed to be Breezy Point.
“It’s our understanding that 111 homes were lost there and the whole island area around Breezy Point," said Captain Mark Evans, commander of the 1049th Transportation Company. “Flood waters at spots got about 10 feet above normal so it’s amazing to see how it affected that area, knowing that we have areas similar to that in Delaware.”
According to the National Guard, the mess left by Hurricane Sandy is still prevalent weeks after the storm made landfall. Although the soldiers were able to provide some relief such as food and water, there's no telling how long it will take for some areas to be back to normal.
“We saw part of the boardwalk, literally shifted off the planks and everything that it stood on,” said Sgt. Karl Reddick, a 21-year veteran of the National Guard. “We saw sand dunes that were six feet tall, cars that were turned over. Some of the houses in the area that we walked down, all of everyone’s belongings, living rooms, furniture, drywall, we’re all lined up on the sidewalk.”
Despite the lack of food and water and no heat or electricity, soldiers said residents we’re in a hopeful spirit.
“We were briefed on what to expect from New Yorkers in general from the New York Guard, but the actual attitude was overwhelming support for us and thankfulness,” said Capt. Evans.
After refueling the vehicles in New Castle, the 1049th Transportation Company headed to their headquarters in Seaford.