“Wimberley, Texas. You are being dispatched in support of Operation: Double Trouble. Attached are instructions.”
FINALLY! I’m dispatched to a region to support an op that needs me. What does that mean? What do I do? What do I pack? Who do I call? OMG I’m freaking out….
Driving into Wimberley, I’m extremely aware that I’m driving into a disaster area. Although I’ve been in disaster areas before and experienced flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, etc., I’m still extremely ill prepared for what to expect.
I know to expect devastation and hard work. What I don’t expect is the confluence of events that places me with an incredible team already dispatched and ready to meet the challenges of the day. A Marine, a soldier, two airmen, and a civilian, ready to muck and shuck all kinds of debris. Plastic Easter eggs, meat tenderizer, a scented candle and other remnants of stranger’s lives’ that in no way illustrate the tragedy that surrounds us.
The day progresses and we reach the point where we have to choose between safety and recovery. The Marine chooses recovery, only temporarily until the weather reaches the point where safety is an inherent risk. A lightning bolt strikes within feet of our recovery operations, and we head back to base – each and every one of us reluctant to leave this site of utter devastation.
Tomorrow is a new day.
We know exactly where we’re headed; confident in the assurance we can make a difference in the lives of these people who we encounter during our recovery ops. In a single day, we’ve managed to become brothers and sisters. Team Rubicon in action.
Lissie Hagerman, USAF, 98-04