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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Guest Column: Aggie Cadets in Texas Army National Guard aid in hurricane relief

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The following is a guest article submitted to The Battalion by Lt. Charlie B. Hurdt.
Late August 2017, 17 Texas A&M ROTC Cadets were activated in support of the Texas Army National Guard Hurricane Harvey relief efforts within multiple response teams across the state. The Cadets conducted various missions ranging from search and rescue operations to evacuate numerous families to providing humanitarian aid to the families forced into shelters by the damaging winds and floodwaters.
Cadets Christian Hernandez, Jack Laughead, David Pavelsky Jr. and Daniel Fink secured humanitarian aid and shelter operations established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shelter staged at the NRG Center in Houston, formerly known as Reliant Stadium.
“I was really excited to help in Houston … seeing the devastation that took place and the look on the faces that had lost everything … I was really glad I could do my part,” Pavelsky said.
Cadet Christian Hernandez welcomed evacuees from the Texas Gulf Coast at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, which was home to about 2,650 evacuees.
“We were the first ones that many of the evacuees saw after the shock of Hurricane Harvey, and even though we had long hours and sleepless nights, I was really happy to help, and made sure that we warmly welcomed them with a smile,” Hernandez said.
Cadets Luis Sanchez, Missy Gandarilla and Benjamin Magby led convoys of military vehicles delivering personal items, food, water and equipment to evacuees and other relief workers. Cadets Garrett Thompson, Daniel Arghavani, Roman Villarreal, John Brewer, Kieren Smith and Noorddin Alsawfta were specifically tasked to high water search and rescue operations.
“The communications with the civilians, local firefighters and other supporting military units went exceedingly well, and we were able to be very efficient in rescuing the victims that were stranded in their homes or on the streets without electricity and a shortage of food,” Alsawfta said.
We recognize and extend our gratitude to all of our cadets who were activated to be a part of the solution in our nation’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Our future leaders actively lived the Army values of Personal Courage, Duty and the shared Texas A&M Corps of Cadets value of Selfless Service which embodied a sense of pride in both them and in our great institutions. These servicemen and women embody the Personal Courage to protect and support their fellow citizens in the midst of calamity. Their strong sense of Duty compels them to risk their safety in order to serve others. Their Selfless Service did not go unnoticed and was greatly appreciated by the citizens of Texas, local communities, and state and federal response forces.
When the state of Texas called, the Texas A&M ROTC Cadets answered. Their efforts and sacrifice are a testament to the character, ethics and service of Texas Aggies everywhere. Gig ‘Em.
AROTC who were activated for Hurricane Harvey:
1. Garrett Thompson
2. Christian Hernandez
3. Missy Gandarilla
4. John Simonds
5. Benjamin Magby
6. Sebastian Boorgeois
7. Mauricio Casteneda
8. Collin Doyle
9. David Pavelsky Jr.
10. Luis Sanchez
11. Roman Villarreal
12. Daniel Arghavani
13. Noorddin Alsawfta,
14. Jack Laughead
15. Daniel Fink
16. John Brewer
17. Kieren Smith

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