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Fort Carson soldiers head to Texas for hurricane help

August 31, 2017 Updated: September 1, 2017 at 8:18 am
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People evacuate a neighborhood inundated after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir when it reached capacity due to Tropical Storm Harvey on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Fifteen Fort Carson soldiers have headed to Texas to assist Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

The soldiers from the post's 4th Sustainment Brigade are logistic experts who will help keep track of troops, equipment and military supplies headed to Houston where the military is joining a wider federal effort to clean up the deluged city and shelter its thousands of displaced residents. About 400 active-duty troops and civilian Defense Department workers had joined the effort by Wednesday evening.

It's the second detachment to leave Fort Carson for Texas since Harvey hit that state over the weekend.

"The Fort Carson Directorate of Emergency Services provided a firefighter and paramedic to the Colorado Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team that deployed over the weekend," the post said in a news release.

The latest soldiers join a wider military effort by Colorado Springs-based U.S. Northern Command, which provides military assistance to local authorities in disasters.

Northern Command, at Peterson Air Force Base, began putting troops on alert Sunday for hurricane work. It has already overseen the shipment of 500,000 gallons of fuel and nine rescue helicopters to help along the Gulf Coast.

"Air Force and Navy helicopters have completed 49 sorties resulting in more than 450 rescues," Northern Command said Wednesday afternoon.

The command has also shipped 11 large military generators for use in the hurricane zone.

The command sent 100 military trucks to help haul relief workers through flooded areas.

The command set up a forward headquarters in Texas that will help coordinate local National Guard efforts with the Defense Department.

It's a disaster drill the command has been planning for years.

Troops from Colorado Springs and leaders at Northern Command played a key role in relief after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.

Training exercises have built on the hurricane experience in a bid to get Defense Department assets to hurricane scenes quickly.

As military support to Hurricane Harvey expands, more troops from Fort Carson are likely to head south. The 4th Sustainment Brigade at the post falls under Northern Command for disaster assistance and can provide everything from fuel trucks and radios experts to field kitchens and water purification experts.

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