1148th remembers Katrina mission - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

1148th remembers Katrina mission

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September 29, 2005

Thomasville, Georgia-- Members of The 1148th Transportation Company describe a mission to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina as both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

As Army Sergeant Pamela Bentley carries out her duties, she also carries memories of Katrina. "Our mission was to provide comfort for the people of Mississippi, just the basics, water, food, baby diapers," she said.

The 1148th had to rely on those basics itself. It was based in what little was left of a school. "When we got there, some of our advance party had set up for our electricity. We still had to do some cleaning because the high school did get flooded," says Bentley.

The company's discomfort was the least of its worries. The smell of death coming from homes far outweighed that. "We did not go in. I couldn't have done something like that. That was my first encounter with a smell like that," says Bentley.

MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat, became the backbone of this mission because of a lack of power, and therefore, refrigeration. "You put them in the bag, and it warms them up, and it's a good meal. Plus, it has got all of the condiments with candy, all the spices are inside the bag," says Bentley.

The candy was a favorite among the kids the troops got to know. It was also a sign of hope. "It wasn't just a 'we're getting ready to get out of here' type of thing. We interacted with them," says E-3, Reginald Williams. "Even still, with everything that has happened, for them to just want candy, that means everything is going to be ok," says Bentley.

Inspiration the company took home last week, after two weeks in Mississippi.

Much of the water the 1148th trucked into the Gulf Coast was bottled and donated by Miller Brewing company in Albany.

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