By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
LOUIS ARMSTRONG NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, La. (Sept. 04, 2005) -- The secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited here to witness efforts to evacuate thousands this struggling city.
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers toured the airport and visited with some of the more than 1,000 servicemembers living and working at the besieged airport.
The servicemembers are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide relief and to evacuate people -- many sick and wounded -- from the city.
Staff Sgt. W. Lance Boekenoogen, a logistics specialist with the 152nd Medical Group in Reno, Nev., got to talk briefly with the two leaders. Then General Myers presented the sergeant with a coin. The sergeant later said he had been thrilled to meet the U.S. military's highest ranking leaders.
To date, the Air Force has participated in moving more than 13,000 people from the airport to locations nationwide.