Sandy Leaves Ugly Mark


Manpower is needed to search for victims and to provide for food and shelter for those left homeless.



Taxi cabs in Hoboken, New Jersey. Courtesy: CNN

(SOMERDALE, NJ) –  The damage in New Jersey and New York from Hurricane Sandy is severe, especially along the coastline. Whole communities on and near the coast are destroyed. Railroad cars were washed-up on the NJ turnpike. Roads impassable (near the coast).  Millions of homes without power. Not a nice picture.

I have no idea of the size of the New York and New Jersey National Guard. There are no reports of the entire Guard in either state was mobilized. Manpower is needed to search for victims.

We can send our Guard to Afghanistan for tours of duty so why not mobilized the entire Guard in both states to search for survivors/victims, provide food, clothing and shelter to those in need?

Someone like retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré who directed the National Guard in New Orleans during Katrina and knows how to respond to an emergency like Sandy with the National Guard ould be a welcomed sight to many.

Are politics preventing the full mobilization of the National Guard in both states? The Guard can prevent looting and free up local and state police from this duty.

Better yet, why not ask the Army to recall General Honoré to active duty to put together a task force of National Guard units from various states? General grade officers can be recalled to active duty at anytime.

The Jersey coastal towns, lower Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island were hit hard by Sandy. For the most part, the New Jersey coastal towns are summer resorts, heavily populated during the summer months and less so during the rest of the year. That’s not true for cities like Hoboken, New Jersey. The surge really hit Hoboken hard.

Reuters reported that, “Four days after superstorm Sandy smashed into the U.S. Northeast, rescuers on Friday were still discovering the extent of the death and devastation in New York and the New Jersey shore, and anger mounted over gasoline shortages, power outages and waits for relief supplies.

The total killed in one of the biggest storms to hit the United States jumped by a third on Thursday, to 98. In New York City, 40 people have been found dead, half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water on Monday.”

AAA estimates that 60 percent of the gas stations in New Jersey are shut along with up to 70 percent of the stations in Long Island.

Those residents in New Jersey who relied on natural gas to heat and cook are in trouble. Because of the risk of fires and explosion, Governor Christie ordered natural gas service shut off from Mantoloking to Island Beach State Park, a stretch of an Ocean County barrier island where several fires have burned, fueled by leaking gas. Water was pumped into the natural gas lines. This means that the gas can’t be turned back on until the natural gas pipeline is rebuilt.

Look at the videos of the long lines of cars lined up for gasoline and those waiting for transport into New York. This is not Mississippi or Florida. The weather is getting cold and people are in danger of freezing and becoming ill from lack of heat and/or shelter. Gasoline is needed to run generators, too.  The military has the capability to provide all of these essentials.

It looks like Staten Island, New York, is in serious trouble. Many people are without housing (and heat), food, and protective clothing. I’m about 100 miles south of the Staten Island but I’m running the heat now and can’t help but wonder about those on the island and along the Jersey coast without heat and fighting the elements. They can’t survive without help from others.

The idea of running a marathon in New York this weekend and starting it on Staten Island is crazy. There are better things for the New York to do than sponsor a marathon. How about distributing MREs to those who are hungry? Again the National Guard has the resources and skills to do this.  Someone finally convinced Mayor Bloomberg to do the right thing.  He finally got it.  On late Friday afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg decided to cancel the New York Marathon.

The photo ops of President Obama and Governor Christie were nice, but those hit hard by Sandy need more than photo ops. Now is the time for a massive effort to support those in need for the basics in life. The federal and state governments are the key player to pull this off. Can they do it in time to save lives?

The following email from Richard Worst, retired FBI agent and friend, demonstrates the difficulty of getting in Ocean City, New Jersey:

I became aware around 11:30am today that they were opening Ocean City to homeowners and those who own businesses. I got in the car and headed south.

The Atlantic City Expressway was great, Garden State Parkway great until I tried to get off. I was about 25th in line and by the time I went about 50 yards and 30 minutes later the line in back of me was about a mile long. I then went South and made an illegal u turn, (have pba plates) and headed North. I was then 10th in line and in 10 minutes I was heading into Ocean City. One special police officer was handling traffic at the bottom of the ramp and when I made a right there in the middle of the road were Ocean City Police Department, sheriff officers and the New Jersey State Police. Oh, I forgot while I was waiting in line 3 black Suv’s with lights flashing went around me to the left and right. President Obama. I forgot he was in the area.

Anyway, I got to the house and to my surprise the water did not get into the house. There was a lot of sand, swamp grass and my brand new trash can holder was missing. I went around the neighborhood, and checked out the neighbors’ houses and then went to the beach. The beach lost about 10 ft. of sand but there was still a dune. However, no walk way and surprise the ramp was still there. However, from the ramp to Central Ave. was full with sand. The area above the firehouse seems to be more damaged then 44th St. On the way out, for some reason I went down Central and guess what I found at 42nd St. and the beach, my trash can holder. One of the neighbors helped me get in back home. It is about 8 feet long.

On the way out, I stopped to look at my neighbor’s (Somerdale, NJ) home in the Gardens. There was little or no damage there. I then went over the 9th St. Bridge and the police were checking each car for proof of residency. No check was being made coming in at 34th St. I finally felt okay and got onto the Garden State Parkway expecting to get on the Atlantic City Expressway and within 60 seconds the Expressway was closed in front of me.

I thought there was a big accident on the ramp so I continued north and made another illegal u turn now heading south. Well that was blocked off to. I had no idea why. So I stopped someone getting back in their car and you guessed it. Obama was going to the Atlantic City Airport so they closed the expressway for 10/15 minutes or more.

Well I took the Black Horse Pike home as did everyone else (5:00 p.m.) and my normal 45 minute ride took me 1 hr. and 45 minutes. What hadn’t the President every heard of a helicopter? He was in one going up and down the coast. The governor couldn’t have just dropped him off at the airport? Ok…that’s my story and I’m sticking with it


The New York Post reported on November 5, 2012, “Marines begin Hurricane Sandy relief work in Queens and Staten Island” a disagreement between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg over the use of the National Guard:

Critics have complained that the National Guard’s talents are being wasted. Instead of providing security against looters and directing traffic, they say, it’s been ordered to do little more than give out food and blankets.

Sources said the Guard’s role has been a source of contention between Mayor Bloomberg, who believes police have the situation under control, and Gov. Cuomo, who wants to blanket the area with the citizen soldiers.

“This thing goes back to the beginning of the storm,” said a source working with city and state officials.

“The mayor downplayed it, and so he needs to keep maintaining the optics that it’s not as bad by downplaying it. Bringing in the National Guard says that it’s a major disaster because it is. It’s bad. It’s really bad. And Cuomo knows it.”

Councilman James Sanders (D-Queens) griped, “You’ve got several people who have had their houses totally robbed. The police were hopelessly overwhelmed in the first few days.”


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Robert O’Dowd served in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings during 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. While at MCAS El Toro for two years, O'Dowd worked and slept in a Radium 226 contaminated work space in Hangar 296 in MWSG-37, the most industrialized and contaminated acreage on the base. Robert is a two time cancer survivor and disabled veteran. Robert graduated from Temple University in 1973 with a bachelor’s of business administration, majoring in accounting, and worked with a number of federal agencies, including the EPA Office of Inspector General and the Defense Logistics Agency. After retiring from the Department of Defense, he teamed up with Tim King of to write about the environmental contamination at two Marine Corps bases (MCAS El Toro and MCB Camp Lejeune), the use of El Toro to ship weapons to the Contras and cocaine into the US on CIA proprietary aircraft, and the murder of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow and others who were a threat to blow the whistle on the illegal narcotrafficking activity. O'Dowd and King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. The book is available as a soft cover copy and eBook from See: