Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nightmares of Katrina 3

On the way down from North Riverside in the Chicago area we stopped off in Alexandria, LA near Fort Polk.

Fort Polk is the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center. It's the equivalent of the National Training Center in California, except that the NTC is mainly for training armor in a desert environment, JRTC is mainly for training infantry in a third world, tropical environment. If I ever wanted to choose a place in the US to represent a third world country it'd be Fort Polk.

At Fort Polk we were billeted on a parking lot. We waited two days as our OIC (Officer in Charge) was flown to the New Orleans area to find out what exactly our mission would be. He returned only having succeeded in determining that we would be stationed at Belle Chasse, New Orleans Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB). Our mission was unknown, our facilities were unknown, our billet ting was unknown, the situation was unknown.

We left Fort Polk at first light. Somewhere just past Baton Rouge along I10 the expressway was closed for everyone except military, police and fire vehicles. The LA State Police had road blocks up and turned every civilian vehicle away. The road was ours alone. It was a bright sunny day, but we only saw a few ambulances heading southeast, nothing headed the other way. A lone HMMWV (Hum-Vee) on an unknown mission.

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