By Mollie Miller
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD When Janice Jones was a little girl, her mother used to take her shopping along Canal Street in New Orleans.
Those street cars, that street, those parks, they are all just memories now, Jones said recently.
On Aug. 29, Jones, who had called eastern New Orleans home for more than 50 years, lost just about everything as Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed covered her house in murky water.
Now making a home with her daughter, Capt. Natasha Jones, at Fort Hood, Janice is trying to rebuild her life with two pairs of jeans, shoes, two shirts and a lot of hope.
On Friday, the older Jones offered a tearful goodbye to her daughter as Natasha departed Fort Hood to help bring that same hope back to New Orleans.
It saddens me that she has to go down there to see the destruction, but it also makes me feel good because she is part of the relief effort for our home, Janice said.
Natasha, along with approximately 600 of her 13th Corps Support Command teammates, left Fort Hoods Sports U.S.A. by vehicle convoy Thursday and Friday destined for the storm-battered city. The headquarters company commander for the support command, Natasha was joined by soldiers from the 4th Corps Material Management Center, the 49th Movement Control Battalion, the Special Troops Battalion and the 263rd Maintenance Company.
The support command delegation will be joining more than 2,000 Fort Hood troops already in the region.
We sent an advance party out and (13th COSCOM commander) Brigadier General (Michael) Terry is already there, command spokesman Maj. Jay Adams said Friday. This convoy will be the last part of the main body to go.
The support commands soldiers will be attached to Joint Task Force Katrina and will be commanded by Lt. Gen. Russell Honore. Focusing on logistical missions, the troops will be working with water purification efforts, preventative medicine, movement control, fuel distribution and debris clearing, according to a recent III Corps statement.
Ushering many of the support soldiers out the door of Sports U.S.A. with a hug, a smile and a promise of gumbo when they returned, Janice said she was so thankful for what they were going to do to bring life back to her hometown.
Ill probably go home, Janice said. When New Orleans is rebuilt, I will go back.
Natasha and her support command teammates were advised to be prepared to stay in Louisiana for 60 days, but officials say it could be longer depending on their duties.
We are prepared to stay until the mission is complete, Adams said.
Janice knows that the soldiers could be there for some time but she is already making plans to host a big New Orleans Thanksgiving dinner.
I hope theyll be home for Thanksgiving, Janice said. I want to treat them to a New Orleans (feast).
For the immediate future, the 13th COSCOM soldiers will be stationed at Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans.
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