By Sydney Johnson
Editor’s Note: The last update to this story was on Oct. 19.
On Oct. 9, Hurricane Delta made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, as a Category 2 hurricane.
As communities assessed the damage caused by the storm, the National Guard and local authorities sprang into action to help in the aftermath – and the USO was there to support them in their efforts.
National Guard and Coast Guard Activate for Hurricane Delta Response
In anticipation of the storm, the Louisiana National Guard activated roughly 2,500 service members and pre-positioned 114 high-water vehicles, 56 boats and eight helicopters provide search-and-rescue support. It also had 1.6 million meals ready-to-eat (MREs), 1.5 million liters of water, 43,000 pounds of ice and 39,000 tarps ready to support those in need when the time came.
The Mississippi National Guard, too, activated service members to support potential disaster and clean-up responses.
Local Coast Guard units also assisted in the post-storm recovery effort.
As these service members supported local authorities as needed, the USO supported them, too.
The USO Provides Support in the Wake of Hurricane Delta
Throughout the initial wave of the cleanup process, the USO had two Mobile USO units in Louisiana to support service members working in the wake of the storm.
These units, which arrived on Oct. 11, were fully stocked with snacks, refreshments and USO Care Packages to support members of the National Guard working in the disaster zone.
From Oct. 13 through Oct. 17, the two units traveled within the region to host support events and served between 260-650 service members at each gathering. These morale events, which featured food, games and other classic Mobile USO amenities, helped hundreds of National Guard members wind down after long days of tiresome work cleaning up after the storm.
Acting as “USO centers on wheels,” the Mobile USO units and the teams that operate them bring a touch of home and a sense of normalcy to service members working in the wake of the storm. The Mobile USO units are able to travel to more than one location over a short period of time, so they can meet and serve military members where they are, which is particularly helpful in disaster recovery situation.
In addition to offering classic USO amenities like Wi-Fi, gaming and other forms of entertainment, Mobile USOs are also stocked with snacks, water and sports drinks to keep service members properly fueled and hydrated so they can stay sharp and carry out their mission.
Mobile USOs also often host small morale events, like special meals or flag football tournaments, so service members can take a short break between their demanding shifts helping with the relief effort.
On Oct. 17, the mobile units supported the National Guard teams through their last relief shifts at Lake Charles and departed the region on Oct. 18.
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