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Oct 13
Teamwork in the wake of devastation: NCNG supports South Carolina

​<i>Story by Sgt. Brian Godette, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment</i>

 

EASTOVER, S.C. – The mission began at midnight, just hours after more North Carolina National Guard Soldiers arrived in South Carolina to lend a helping hand to fellow Carolinians.

Soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard’s 59th Troop Command gave the welcome brief to hundreds of NCNG Soldiers arriving to the McCrady Training Center, Oct. 10.

“This is an important mission to us,” said Capt. Matthew Estheimer, commander, 875th Engineer Company, NCNG.

South Carolina was recently hit with unprecedented rainfall that led to severe flooding, leaving the state devastated, with loss of life and property. While the impact of Hurricane Joaquin did cause the historic flooding, the addition of it added to the aftermath.

The SCNG was quick to respond, providing assistance to the needy, and the NCNG was not far behind, reciprocating the assistance received during the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

“This is what the guard is here for, helping Americans” Estheimer said. “This is what we train for, and all the training that we do, really leads up to this.”

Of the approximate 500 NCNG Soldiers on ground in South Carolina, a majority are engineer Soldiers. Their goal is to assist the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and other state and federal partner agencies to mitigate further loss of life and property, assess infrastructure to roads and bridges, remove debris, and sure-up damaged dams.

“We’re heavy equipment engineers, this is what we do,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Szewczyk, 875th Engineer Company noncommissioned officer in charge.

Engineers with the 875th and 878th engineer company set out, en route to Columbia, South Carolina, in a convoy of dump trucks. The mission was to haul rock and rubble from a local quarry to a damaged canal.

“We are helping fix the canal system for the city of Columbia, so that they will be able to get water to their water treatment plant,” said Capt. Matthew Estheimer, commander, 875th Engineer Company.

Heavy rainfall caused a part of the surrounding land bordering the canal to be removed, which funneled water from a dam to open areas, decreasing water pressure and clean water supply to citizens of Columbia.

The NCNG Soldiers, in collaboration with the SCNG and civilian authorities plan construct a new temporary dam with the rocks and boulders hauled from the quarry, all within the a 48-hour period.

“The city of Columbia and the South Carolina National Guard has done a great job so far in recreating the dam,” Estheimer said.

“We’re going to the best job we can, as quickly and safely as we can, to restore the services that they depend on,” Szewczyk said.

The Soldiers worked continuously through the night, into the morning, fueled by the desire to help, as well as some treats and coffee provided by the South Carolina United Services Organization.

“We give everything 110 percent, and we are here do a job and help them out,” Szewczyk said.

The long hours, and tireless effort is but a minor sacrifice for fellow Soldiers, citizens.

“The North Carolina National Guard is here to help,” Estheimer said. “We understand the need, and we are happy to come assist our fellow Carolinians to the south.”           

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