The Virginia SouthBears unit deployed on August 31, 2008 with other VBMB team members to a staging area at the Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center near Talladega Al. We were then deployed to Baton Rouge, LA. and served at the Istrouma Baptist Church in communications support of the other VBMB units. We were ask to "stand down" on Friday night Sept. 5th. We operated on the Red Cross frequency, HF, VHF and HF Winlink. All non-local traffic was handled via Winlink or BGAN satellite.
During this activation, we supported the local unit's business band radios that were used to coordinate the efforts of the kitchen. We used HF Winlink to send 18 messages with multi-addressees. We received 20 messages via Winlink.
On Sunday, September 14th two Virginia kitchen units were dispatched to respond to Hurricane Ike as it was impacting the gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana. We were flown into San Antonia, TX by the Red Cross. We spent two nights in staging at Kelly Air Force Base near San Antonio and then drove to Liberty Texas and setup the two kitchen units and served over 72,600 hot meals and distributed loads of MREs and heater meals along with ice and water. I packed in about 100 lbs of radio gear and sent reports, photos and messages from the impact area via Winlink. There was 64 outgoing messages and I received 63 incoming messages during the deployment. I also supported the handheld business band radios and kept them changed every night.
Throughout the activation I was able to keep in constant contact with the outside world by moving to different Winlink RMS gateways on different bands and in different states.
We all returned home on Septmeber 24th when we were replaced with the second team that moved into Liberty to continue the feeding effort.