After nearly half a year of deliberation, the struggle in the Gulf of Mexico has finally seemed to calm down. Emergency responders have at last contained the oil spill and effectively cleaned up most of the excess oil. Although significant damage has been cast upon the area, its ecosystem, and economy, many people have come together to rebuild.
Among the many cleanup volunteers are units of the Army National Guard. Just like any other emergency, domestic or foreign, National Guardsmen were some of the first responders to deploy to the scene.
After the oil spill began threatening the Louisiana coast, engineers of the Louisiana National Guard constructed barriers along miles of the coastline that prevented the oil from affecting the beaches. After the initial defenses were set up, Guard units utilized ships equipped with vacuums to clean up much of the oil on the water’s surface.
Alabama National Guardsmen also contructed many miles of shoreline barriers to protect their state’s coast and beaches from being overrun with oil. Such measures saved a countless number of marine animals and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
A variety of National Guard aviation units were tasked with tracking and reporting the progress of the spill’s path. This enabled responders to remain a step ahead of the oil and coordinate effective preventive measures.
Altogether, over 1,600 National Guardsmen and women have participated in the Gulf oil spill cleanup. In a press conference, President Obama praised the actions of such members of the military for their vital role in protecting areas affected by this catastrophe. The last few months serve as a great example of the exemplary service record of the National Guard.