"Landshark Platoon" thrives in flood mission

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"Landsharks" to the rescue: A Kentucky Army National Guard medium tactical vehicle en route to evacuate a stranded family in Livingston County negotiates hazardous floodwaters. A team from the 118th Engineer Support Platoon - the "Landshark Platoon" - performed the mission. (Photo by Spc. Mark Call, Kentucky National Guard Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative)

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A tractor flooded by the Ohio River in Livingston County. Kentucky National Guard troops have helped evacuate numerous families stranded by the historic floodwaters. (Photo by Spc. Mark Call, Kentucky National Guard Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative)

SMITHLAND, Ky. (May 8, 2011) – A team of Kentucky National Guard combat engineers were asked to take a break from their sandbagging operations during their flood relief mission in Livingston County near Smithland, Ky.  Local law enforcement had a high priority assignment for the Citizen-Soldiers: evacuate an elderly couple and their 55-year old wheelchair bound child under siege by flood waters.

“We were pretty excited to do something different than the sandbag mission,” said Spc. Mark Call, 118th Engineer Support Platoon, also known as the “Landshark Platoon.”  “We wanted to see more of the flood and how it was affecting local citizens, so we were glad to go.”

Call and his teammates had to negotiate water hazards along the way, often walking ahead of their tactical vehicle to ensure it did not fall into an unseen sinkhole under the treacherous waters.

The Soldiers’ initial excitement, however, turned into something else upon seeing the family’s plight.

“They were some very nice people who couldn’t get out of that situation without assistance,” said Call.  “Our Soldiers were all proud to help them out and we were very grateful that the family did make it all back all right.”

The “Landsharks” took the family to a relative’s home where they would be safe and dry.

Call’s only regret was not getting more pictures of the mission.

“I had my hands full,” he said.  “The mission came first.”

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Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Ronnie Demorest, of the 118th "Landshark Platoon" wades through flooded waters to help evacuate citizens of Livingston County, Ky. (Photo by Spc. Mark Call, Kentucky National Guard Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative)

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Pfc. Joshua Altman, Pfc. Brandon Walton and Sgt. Ronnie Demorest, of the Kentucky Army National Guard's 118th Engineer Support Platoon, enter a flooded roadway to guide their tactical vehicle through the water. (Photo by Spc. Mark Call, Kentucky National Guard Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative)

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Pfc. Joshua Altman and Pfc. Brandon Walton Wade through a flooded roadway to help evacuate citizens of Livingston County, Ky. The two Citizen-Soldiers - part of the Kentucky Army National Guard's 118th Engineer Support Platoon, also known as the "Landshark Platoon" - were checking the road for sinkholes and erosion that would endanger their medium tactical vehicle. (Photo by Spc. Mark Call, Kentucky National Guard Unit Public Affairs/Historian Representative)

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