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Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, now in charge of Task Force Katrina, is a former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea.
Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, now in charge of Task Force Katrina, is a former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. (Courtesy of Doug Sample)

The man in charge of coordinating the military’s hurricane response is a Louisiana native with previous experience in flood disasters who already has received high marks from one state official for his efforts.

Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, the man in charge of U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Task Force Katrina, is a former 2nd Infantry Division commander.

Honoré, from Lakeland, La., led 2nd ID in South Korea from October 2000 until July 2002.

During that time he dealt with monsoon-season flooding on many Area I installations and oversaw flood prevention measures put in place following a disastrous 1998 flood that caused more than $150 million in damage to Area I bases.

Honoré is a man who announces his presence with authority.

In an interview with local WWL radio, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin was expressing dismay at the lack of federal help for his city, but said of Honoré:

“I give the president some credit on this, he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is Gen. Honoré, and he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussin’ and people started movin’!

“And he’s getting some stuff done,” Nagin said. “They ought to give that guy — if they don’t want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done.”

Honoré was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in 1971. He also has served as commander, 4th Battalion, 16th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Germany.

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