BREAUX BRIDGE – “When people think of the National Guard, they’re either thinking of us overseas, fighting wars, or farmers with pitchforks, and that’s just not the way it is anymore.”
So speaks Capt. Charles Mule (MU-lay) of the 205th Engineer Battalion out of Bogalusa.
The Army National Guard officer stands in an operational nerve center, quietly buzzing with efficiency, set up in the cavernous armory of A Company, 2-156th Infantry Battalion, here in Breaux Bridge.
The local soldiers returned from a training deployment in Germany just in time to help with traffic, security and debris-clearing on the storm-ravaged streets of their hometowns. The engineers from the 205th are down here to help organize it all.
“At any given time we have about 20 missions going on, so every 10 to 15 minutes we have somebody that’s either coming or going,” Mule says.
Using the familiar flatbottom boats and the more exotic inflatables and armored bridge erection craft, the unit is conducting
search-and-rescue and damage assessment missions from here all the way down to Plaquemines Parish – all coordinated out of the armory here.
“The national guard has cutting edge technology right now,” says the captain. “We’re as professional as any of the big companies out here. We track everything down to the chainsaw and the bottle of water.”
Capt. Mule lauds the training and proficiency of the men and women under his command.
“We can provide security, we can provide construction,” he says.
“We’ve got the equipment to do just about any type of engineer asset you want.”
Not your daddy’s National Guard.