Storm and Convention Update... 9/29/05

This is to bring everyone up-to-date on the situation in the LOUISIANA and TEXAS portions of KATRINA and RITA, and is in addition to and an extension of all reports posted thus far.

All local members of KWVA Chapters 180 and 205 are directly affected by RITA. There have been no reports from other chapters concerning effects of KATRINA or RITA. My Command Sergeant Major, GRADY THOMAS, is doing an outstanding job in locating members and assessing the situation in the LOUISIANA AREA. Electricity, water, and communications are all critical. FORT POLK, LOUISIANA returns to partial (they say "full") operations today--the first time since 09.23. Adjoining LEESVILLE and DERIDDER are virtually still without any power--and in those areas there is no gasoline and limited communications because there is no power (electricity).

The LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD, FEMA, FEDERAL MARSHALS SWAT INSTALLATION, and US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, are continuing to enlarge, marshal, and increase their operations from CAMP BEAUREGARD, PINEVILLE, LOUISIANA, where our national office is located.

BUT, in far northwest LOUISIANA (SHREVEPORT, BOSSIER CITY, and BARKSDALE AFB), one would not know a storm had struck other than for the increased numbers of evacuees and FEMA and other disaster operations personnel. The KWVA CONVENTION, as a national function, is unaffected by the physical attacks which nature has brought in the GULF COASTAL REGIONS in recent weeks. As to be expected, we have been forced to make many program changes as LOUISIANA GOVERNMENT and NATIONAL GUARD support people have been moved--for example, we lost the services of the excellent 156th Army Band, LA NG, now in NEW ORLEANS, along with BG Hunt Downer, LA NG and also LA Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who has been in NEW ORLEANS since 09.23.

We wish for all of the men and women in the NG units FROM ALL ACROSS AMERICA who are now in the GULF COAST states on humanitarian and rebuilding operations--and our deployed armed forces fighting terrorism around the world--GOD SPEED.

It may sound strange, but in CENTRAL LOUISIANA which has been contending with RITA and temperatures of near 100 degrees, humidity of 100%, without any air conditioning relief (no electricity throughout the area, much of the time), the temperature for tomorrow morning, September 30th, is forecast to be 56 degrees-a cold front is pushing through! Weather should be moderate for the Convention!

See you in Bossier City!

Lou Dechert, National President

(Posted 9/29/05)