Over 300 LA National Guard Soldiers return from Puerto Rico relief mission

NEW ORLEANS – More than 300 Louisiana National Guard Soldiers have returned home after spending one month helping the people of Puerto Rico recover.

More than 160 troops from the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company, which is headquartered in Gonzales, cleared more than 200 fallen trees, and moved 900 tons of gravel to build dams.

The engineers also built 40 concrete poles to help electrical companies on the hurricane-ravaged island begin rebuilding the power grid and distributed 90,000 bottles of water and 70,000 meals.

“It makes me feel good just knowing that we were able to be helpful,” Army Capt. Tykesia Prier, a Marksville native and commander of the 922nd, said. “That just goes to show me that we did what we came here to do.”

One-hundred-sixty-three soldiers with the 239th Military Police Company, which is headquartered in Carville, helped provide law enforcement across Puerto Rico.

“We were there to keep surface roads available, enforce the curfew so we could allow people to move through the roads freely with supplies to help facilitate and expedite the distribution of food and water,” Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Price, a supply sergeant with the 239th, said.

Some of the Military Police officers drove over 3,000 miles while patrolling the 300 mile long island.

The Louisiana soldiers are no stranger to the devastating effects of natural disasters, so being able to help Puerto Rico recover really hit home.

“It’s a really humbling feeling knowing that somebody can come up to you and give you a hug, kiss you on the cheek and say, ‘Thank you, God bless you,’” Price said. “We’re just doing our job that we signed up to do.”