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Corps commander discusses response to 2005 hurricanes

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College opened its 2007-2008lecture series Monday night in Rea Auditorium with Brig. Gen.Robert Crear of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers providing aglimpse of New Orleans before and after it was devastated by theone-two punches of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Crear assumed command of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Divisionin Vicksburg in 2004, where he commands the organization’sresources in 12 states along the Mississippi River. He also servesas president of the Mississippi River Commission.

The Vicksburg native, in his capacity of commander of the MVD,also leads Task Force Hope, a collaboration of several disasterresponse agencies that handled relief operations immediately afterthe storms and continues to assist in the city’s recovery.

Most people are aware of the impact of Katrina and Rita, if notthe emotional impact and the sheer scope of the recovery effort,Crear said.

“It’s still hard for me today to keep my emotions in check aboutwhat I saw,” he said.