In the hours right after Hurricane Katrina, the Marines pulled about 200 Biloxi residents out of their flooded homes. Some people consider them heroes. The Marines say they were just doing their jobs.
That scary afternoon, when the backside of Hurricane Katrina was still pounding South Mississippi, Marines ventured out into winds above 70 mph. "I wasn't worried so much about my personal safety. It was just get them out of there, says Lance Cpl. James Lockard
The Marines navigated amphibious assault vehicles through the wall of water that Katrina dumped on Gulfport and Biloxi. Staff Sgt. Joel Coutu will never forget what east Biloxi looked like when his amtrac splashed its way over there. "You know, people were walking around. It was almost like a movie, they were in a state of shock, so they were like zombies."
Coutu was one of six Marines who carefully steered the amtracs past debris and under downed power lines to pull frightened neighbors to safety. Coutu says, "Between the people and the animals that were out there that just looked lost, it was just an experience that I don't think any of us will ever forget. We hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon."
If the Marines had failed to complete their assignment, they knew a lot more people would have died during Katrina. "We did our jobs. I mean if it happened again tomorrow, we would go out there again tomorrow and do it," Staff Sgt. Shannon Sweeney says.