Joint Task Force Gator delivers
By TSgt Suzanne Chaillot, 159th FW Public Affiars
/ Published July 02, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La -- The last thing they expected on that cool and cloudy morning was to be in the birthing business. For two Louisiana Air National Guard (LANG) members of Joint Task Force Gator, their business was to assist the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with security operations at the direction of the Governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans.
As part of their normal routine, Staff SSgts. William Campbell and Tommy Jackson, drove a military HUMVEE on familiar routes or roving patrols to provide a presence of security, but, on February 3rd, 2007, their mission took a different turn as they found themselves providing assistance to Acadian Ambulance emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
While on patrol, the sergeants passed a small white house, which stood out between the hurricane-ravaged two-story, raised, abandoned cottages because of its recent renovations. What also made this small white house stand out, were two women standing in front of it, as if waiting for someone. It was very early in the morning and they were the only two people on the street.
Sergeant Jackson, a member of the 159th Security Forces Squadron, LANG, slowed the HUMVEE down as they passed the house. Not a moment later, they saw an ambulance making a deliberate approach toward the house. Sergeant Jackson made an immediate U-turn and parked their massive vehicle behind the emergency vehicle.
Sergeants Jackson and Campbell quickly followed the EMTs into the small house to see what was going on. It didn't take long to realize a young woman, in what seemed to be her final stages of labor, was about to deliver a child. She was laying on a couch just a few steps inside the home's entrance.
According to a resident of the house, she started having labor pains that morning, although she was a few weeks early. Sergeant Campbell, a member of the 159th Civil Engineer Squadron, LANG, took charge as the primary assistant to the EMTs. He handed sanitized bedding, and appropriate tools used in emergency deliveries to them.
The laboring, young women barely moved and never made a sound as the baby boy was delivered, within 10 minutes of their arrival. The mother and child seemed to be in good health.
Sergeants Campbell and Jackson carefully placed the mother and her newborn son on the emergency gurney and wheeled them to the ambulance for their trip to a hospital in uptown New Orleans.
"I always say things can go real, bad real fast, but his time things went real good real fast. I got to see someone open his eyes for the first time," said Sergeant Campbell.
"I came on this assignment last June. We are needed here, that is a fact," said Sergeant Campbell, a fourteen-year veteran in the military, who lives in Gonzales, La., but stays in the city of New Orleans during his shift days.
Sergeant Jackson lost his house in New Orleans East after hurricane Katrina and has since relocated to Metairie, La.
"I am putting my life back together the best I can. I volunteered for this mission last August and I really enjoy what we are doing," Sergeant Jackson said.
Joint Task Force Gator has provided support to the NOPD since the days following Katrina. The Task Force consists of members of the Louisiana Army Guard and LANG. Their mission is to support the police department to assist in deterring crimes, and providing law and order.
A normal day of operations consists of a roll call and briefings to inform the 3rd District officers, airmen and soldiers of lookouts, information and developments.
Anything but normal for the sergeants, this was a day when the sun broke through the clouds as the baby was born. Not long after the ambulance made its way toward the hospital, the grey skies returned and the two sergeants continued on their patrols to support and assist the NOPD, and the citizens of New Orleans.