The Humvees headed out from a staging area in Tallahassee to get urgently needed help to Ivan’s victims. Thousands of soldiers had waited all night for their marching orders and they headed into the path of destruction as soon as those orders came.
MAL GEN Douglas Burnett wants people to know the cavalry’s coming.
Burnett says, "We have the two-and-a-half ton high wheel trucks, the five-ton trucks, huge cranes that can move things out of the way if you need to rescue someone, and a lot of combat engineers."
The engineers can help local officials assess the safety of damaged buildings, roads and bridges.
"With thousands of people having evacuated their homes and businesses, one of the core missions will be security for the guard troops."
Soldiers back up local law enforcement to prevent looting, assist with traffic control and secure neighborhoods. CAPT Mark Ruiz hopes the sight of Humvees rolling in will bring comfort to families who’ve been hit hard.
Ruiz says, "I do think that people are reassured to know we’re trying to do everything we can to respond to them and respond to their needs and try to get their lives back to normal."
This is the third hurricane many of these soldiers have responded to in the past month and a half. They’re hoping it’s their last.