As Hurricane Gustav threatened, dozens of charter buses and ambulances waited at the Ford Park entertainment complex in Beaumont. That’s where transportation for evacuation from Louisiana and Texas was staged. Nursing home patients and their families were tended to by the Texas Air National Guard and eventually flown to Kelly AFB in San Antonio. Capt Wayne Sanaghan says in the short time that they assembled, they were federalized by the President.
“When we originally started this mission, we were state active duty. That means we were activated by Governor Rick Perry and put on state active duty orders. That’s different from being activated by the federal government. President Bush signed an order declaring a federal disaster area are were transferred over to federal control.”
Sanaghan says the designation gives them specific federal protection. It also means that the unit will go where it’s needed.
“If we’re called upon to head to New Orleans, we’ll either be taking care of southeast Texas or, we’ll move forward if given the order. We’ll cross into the Louisiana border, assist people there, we might also be sent to New Orleans. We don’t know our destination at this time, but we could be sent anywhere.”
He says they’ve been told they’ll either go home, move east, or stay put in Beaumont.