In what could be considered a misuse of military resources during a crisis, Representative William Jefferson (D- New Orleans) embarked on a rescue mission of hi personal effects. The rescue effort included National Guard troops, two large trucks, a navy diver and a helicopter.
ABC News reports:
Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.
Rep. Jefferson states that he never asked for a National Guard Escort and that the original intent of the trip into hurricane ravaged New Orleans was to check on disaster survivors at the Superdome.
Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson’s initial request.
And once they arrived at the congressman’s home, things appeared to get out of hand.
Two Heavy Trucks and Helicopter Involved
The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.
Two weeks later, the vehicle’s tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.
The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson’s home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.
A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.
After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.
Whether or not Rep. Jefferson asked for a National Guard Escort. This trip to his residence was inappropriate. Were average citizens being allowed to go return to their homes at this time? I think not. And being an elected official, he knew they would not refuse him nor let him go in alone. William Jefferson endangered many others with this selfish act. Rescue personel and thier vehicles were delayed for hours because his actions.
Unfortunately though, I am sure that they will find a way to make this President Bush’s fault.
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