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Twenty-two hours embedded with the National Guard

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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 9:32pm

The National Guard is trained and prepared for storm response.

However operations like a high water rescue during a hurricane rarely ever go as planned and Wednesday was no different.

Soldiers in the National Guard were eating lunch when they were told that a dozen of them would be sent out for a high water rescue in Laplace.

The National Guard allowed me and my partner, NBC33's David Lippman to travel alongside on this rescue mission.  We were the only two people from the media that were embedded with the National Guard in Laplace during Isaac.

Some soldiers were veterans at rescuing people during severe storms, but others were testing out their first runs. 

One specialist said, "No this is my first one, I've been training before this one, I'm excited."

I headed out with the National Guard in a humvee where it took us an unexpected seven hours to reach our destination.

We had to reroute multiple times because the flooding off the exits was too deep even for the military vehicles.

Shortly after traveling down the highway our humvee ran out of gas.  I was transported into an LMTV truck where little did I know, I would be staying in overnight.

Capt. Gaskins told us that Louisiana Police confirmed the routes that we were taking but they were not panning out.

The Liutenant in our humvee called for instruction, when he was told to continue heading South towards Laplace.

However the further South we got the worse the roads were.  Isaac was causing serious flooding, burying gas pumps underwater and partially covering semi-trucks.

After much rerouting we arrived in Laplace where officials realized that a dozen men and women were not enough to carry out this mission.

The city's power was out, water levels were severe and people were seeing anywhere from two-five inches of flooding in their homes.

After gathering more soldiers, the National Guard spent all night going door to door to peoples houses, placing them in boats, and then loading them into the LMTV trucks and school buses where they were transported to a church parking lot for, food and shelter.  They then piled onto charter buses where they were transported to a safer area.

As for the soldiers and I, we rested for an hour where we were given MRE meals before heading back out for more rescues through the morning.

I spoke with a couple people who were rescued by the National Guard and they said that their houses were flooding, so they were seeking refuge in their attics. They were so thankful for the help and all the soldiers were doing to bring them to safer areas, out of the effects of Isaac.

About twenty-two hours after we left the National Guard of Louisiana's base the rain had stopped and there was a patch of blue skies in the distance, and although I was leaving, the National Guard's rescue mission was not finished.

KETK's Neeha Curtis and NBC33's crew drove in from New Orleans to rescue David Lippman and I from our own "rescue" mission.

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