Katrina kudos go
to National Guard
An admiral speaking at a
conference here praises troops'
efforts along the Gulf Coast
A high-ranking U.S. official, speaking during a National Guard conference here yesterday, acknowledged the work of thousands of Guard members assisting with recovery and rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Timothy Sullivan, senior military adviser to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, made his comments at the National Guard Association of the United States Conference, being held at the Hawai'i Convention Center. The three-day conference ends today.
Sullivan said he recently spent 2 1/2 weeks in the Gulf Coast observing the "unbelievable spirit" of the National Guard.
They are working under dangerous conditions, putting their lives at risk to help survivors, he said.
He also worked closely with David Paulison, acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying that FEMA has provided more than $965 million so far to assist hundreds of thousands of survivors.
Along with rescue efforts, National Guard troops are providing water, food and medicine to displaced hurricane survivors. Sullivan also said troops are assisting in debris removal and efforts to reduce the water level in New Orleans.
"There are many difficult days, weeks and months ahead," Sullivan said. "We're still in the midst of a crisis, and we must not lose focus."
Sullivan said the disastrous event has tested the Department of Homeland Security's national response plan, which involves all levels of government and establishes DHS as the lead agency responsible for recovery efforts.
"We, of course, recognize that things did not run perfectly, and there are definite lessons to be learned in the response to Hurricane Katrina," he said.