GULFPORT, Miss. – Shortly after Hurricane Gustav made landfall, several members of the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group of the Mississippi Army National Guard launched a search and rescue operation at the Jordan River Shores subdivision in Kiln, Miss.
Six teams from the unit, based in Jackson, Miss., used rubber boats fitted with outboard motors to search for anyone who remained in the subdivision, which flooded as a result of a tidal surge from Hurricane Gustav on Sept. 1.
“They prepared to patrol the neighborhood to pick up those who had chosen not to evacuate, and had become trapped in their homes,” said 2nd Lt. Steve Stubbs, a public affairs officer from the 186th Air Refueling Wing of the Mississippi Air National Guard in Meridian, Miss. “And suddenly it became more than just a rescue, it became an extreme emergency.”
Scott Bilbo, chief of the Kiln Volunteer Fire Department, had gotten word that a man, whose house was surrounded by rising water, needed emergency medical help.
“I don’t know what shape he’s in. I was told he was sick,” Bilbo told the troops.
Within minutes, the Special Forces Soldiers had the victim on the way for emergency medical attention.
“We called our dispatcher through our fire marshal to get us a boat. We got here. They happened to be here doing rescues, and it worked out perfectly,” said Bilbo. “Our boat would have to come from two miles away.”
Stubbs said Sgt. Maj. Mike Patterson handled the mission very well. “You could just tell by his actions his main concern was getting those folks out safely and quickly. This was a perfect example of the Mississippi National Guard’s Citizen-Soldiers helping fellow citizens in time of need.”
The unit worked in conjunction with local fire, rescue and police departments to recover the stranded residents, Stubbs said. A total of six residents were rescued from Jordon Estates by the Special Forces troops.
Search and rescue missions continued today, while other Soldiers conducted security patrols along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.