By Sgt. Jewel Davenport
256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
BATON ROUGE, La. Soldiers from the 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, headquartered in Plaquemine, La., have been conducting various missions in the past weeks assisting local and state authorities with the rising waters of the Mississippi River.
Throughout the response, the 256th BSTB have set up Tiger Dam water-diversion systems, supported installation of HESCO basket barriers, identified possible evacuation points, and more for parishes including Iberville, Assumption, Ascension, East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge.
One of the first missions the battalion received was to employ Tiger Dams in Pierre Part and Bayou Lourse.
The purpose of the Tiger Dam is to raise the height of the levees in lower level areas to prevent flooding, said Spc. Joseph Breeding of Ethel.
They also conducted reconnaissance missions to identify lily pads, or evacuation points, to be used in the event that areas begin to flood, according to 1st Lt. Jessica Plummer of St. Martinville.
Soldiers from the 256th BSTB also supported the set up of sand-filled HESCO barriers along the levees of Assumption Parish. Teams instructed inmates and demonstrated how to properly set up the barriers, said Spc. Michael Powell of Lafayette.
The battalion currently has Soldiers assisting local authorities with patrolling areas of the levee in East Baton Rouge Parish as a safety measure to impede vehicular and foot traffic.
Search and rescue teams have also been established in order to assist with notifications and evacuation of citizens who inhabit areas outside the Atchafalaya Basin.
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PIERRE PART, La. — Louisiana National Guard Soldiers Pvt. Paris Hammond of Hammond, La., and Spc. Scylar Miller of Lafayette, La., work to assemble Tiger Dams to help prevent backwater flooding in Pierre Part, La., May 14, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Mark J. Deshotels, 241st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)