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September 6, 2005

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Indiana Guard brings aid to Mississippi
By Tom Spalding

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CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – In 1917 the Indiana National Guard came to this southeastern Mississippi Army training ground after the area had been devastated by a hurricane. Those Hoosiers would become known as the “cyclone soldiers,” a nickname that is a rich part of the Guard’s history. Today, Indiana soldiers are back in the sprawling woods south of Hattiesburg, where Hoosiers will make up 2,400 of the estimated 9,000 troops that will provide services for Mississippi residents.

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perspective • Searchers say tornadoes can't compare to Katrina • Family relieved to be together • Hoosier troops lend hand • Indy gives evacuees comfy beds, ray of hope

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Thus, this mission -- which may last two months -- has been dubbed “Task Force Cyclone”. The Guard will cover the state assessing damage to the devastated Gulf Coast towns. They will also control traffic at intersections far inland, where Hurricane Katrina blew down street signals and knocked out power. In a mission called “Quick Reaction,” soldiers also are delivering water and packaged meals. “It’s going to be stability and security, the delivery of humanitarian relief,” said Guard spokesman Maj. Jon Thurlow, a teacher from New Castle, Ind. “We want to relieve some suffering.” Thurlow said by the end of this week, virtually every city in the southern third of the state will have an Indiana Guardsman or vehicle.

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Hoosier soldiers are assigned to so many small missions, that it’s hard to keep track, said Sgt. David Elmore. Often they report to a mayor in a small town and provide immediate assistance. Elmore said they are following the marching orders of the local commander, Maj. Gen. Greg Vadnais: “Just do what’s right.”
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Orleans • Indiana Guard brings aid to Mississippi • Counties will see more tax revenue
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