September 22 – Sgt. Staggs  

It’s almost over.  

As I am writing this, Nicki and I are in Eastern Tennessee getting ready to demobilize from our learning experience.  

We learned what it is to be attached to a Military Police Company and the work they go through on a daily basis. We learned how well the Army National Guard and Air National Guard can work together in all of their assorted jobs. And we learned how hot a Humvee gets inside when driven several hundred miles cross country.  

We learned how good you feel when you help another human being when they need it most. We went to New Orleans and saw the destruction first-hand, but the looks in the evacuees’ eyes each day was a grim reminder of what they lost.  

We met normal citizens who took time away from their jobs and their lives to help people they had never met. When problems were not being addressed quickly enough, volunteers took up the issue and found the answers anyway they could. These people were the true heroes of the moment.  

But mostly, we were reminded that this is why we signed up to serve. The chance to help our fellow Americans when they need it and need us made us feel that we were doing something truly worthwhile… a feeling we hope that every American gets to have at least once. It’s worth every second in a hot Humvee to be able to help just one person who needs it… and I wouldn’t trade that learning experience for the world.


September 24 – Spc. Fellenzer  

This deployment has been a harrowing emotional and learning experience.  We have met stellar Citizen Soldiers, who left their families, jobs and lives on less than a day’s notice to help their fellow Americans after a devastating storm wreaked havoc with their lives.  

We have met Americans who have lost everything they own, who have lost their families, who have been separated from their loved ones and who have had to rely on the kindness of their fellow Americans for their most basic needs.  

We have met dedicated law enforcement and emergency workers in Lake Charles , La. , who have worked long hours with no days off little time with their loved ones to help those who have been evacuated to their small city from New Orleans .  

And we have realized what having National Guard Soldiers provide a sense of security and safety means to ordinary American citizens who have little more than faith and hope to cling to as they begin to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes.  

We left Louisiana on September 20, and quite frankly, I was happy to come home and get back to my regular life – my job and my family.  But I would be lying if I said that this deployment was not one of the most valuable learning experiences I have ever had.  And I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me.  

Having seen the death and devastation first hand in New Orleans made me appreciate the awesome power of nature.  

Having seen families torn apart made me understand the importance of being prepared for such emergencies.  

Having spoken with victims, who have lost everything they owned in this awesome storm, has made me realize the importance of non-material values.  

And having worked with the 229th Military Police Company and the 192nd Security Forces Squadron and having seen the gratitude on the faces of those our Soldiers have helped, has given me a new respect for my fellow National Guardsmen, who answered the call of duty and the cries of their fellow Americans in one of the worst national crises we have ever faced.