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Army National Guard Continues To Aid In Recovery Efforts

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TWC News: Army National Guard Continues To Aid In Recovery Efforts
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Thousands of army national guard soldiers are still on the streets of the city, helping with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and it takes lots of logistics to make it happen. NY1's Dean Meminger took a tour inside the military's main staging area at Floyd Bennett Field.

Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn has transformed into a military tent city, just as you would see in battle zones. There, the nearly 2,500 National Guard soldiers who remain in the city to help with storm recovery and cleanup efforts run command centers, eat in a massive chow hall and sleep in huge heated tents. If they need to be here for months, they're ready.

"We want it to get back to the normalcy that New York is," said Lt. Col. James Freehart of the New York Army National Guard. "Everybody that's with me in the New York Army National Guard wants to see it stood back up, get to our lives and see these people regain their sense of normalcy and their place."

A big part of that is clearing away the mounds of debris that still have to be removed from several hard-hit areas. At one location in Breezy Point, soldiers helped to add muscle to New York's strongest: the city's sanitation workers.

"Absolutely spectacular," said Steve Sokolowski, borough chief of the New York City Department of Sanitation. "This is like a team effort. There is no 'I' in team, and we are doing it the right way, the army and the Department of Sanitation."

As quickly as humanly possible, they're trying to clean up all that was left behind by Sandy.

"There will be health concerns when you have debris that sits," said Warrant Officer Ubon Mendie of the New York Army National Guard. "There are nails. There are many different other things that can actually cause harm to those who are trying to get back into their homes to salvage what they do have."

One Breezy Point resident bought a mobile camper for his family to live in until his house is deemed safe again. He said the area resembles a war zone, but said he's happy to have soldiers helping out on the home front.

"Never imagined we'd have to have the military do this for us. You see them do it in other countries," he said. "The amount of trash and rubble that they took away, we couldn't have handled this on our own. There's no way. It's very important that they were here."

They say they're here to stay as long as they're needed.

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