Alabama Guard Unit Steps Up

Two days after a tragic church bus crash in Lauderdale County that claimed one life and injured others on their way to youth camp, members of the Alabama National Guard, Detachment 1, 2101st Transportation Company of Aliceville are still reflecting on the victims, rather than their own actions.

Members of the unit say they saw the wreck happen and immediately reacted. They first sent out three guardsmen to survey the situation. But then saw teenagers exiting the bus, which had rolled several times.

"I heard this young lady screaming for help up under the bus and we saw part of her body through the window of the bus with her body on the ground," said Sgt. Brian Pearson. "So, we knew we had one up under there but when we lifted it up we discovered we had two people under the bus. We didn't have any doubt. We just knew what we had to do."

All 47 soldiers combined their strength to lifted the bus from its side back to its upright state.

"I feel very, very proud to know I've done what I can to help those children," said Sgt. Angela Oliver, also a nurse. "And they were so scared and so nervous, just being a comforter alone."

"I remember as we approached the bus, I saw fluid leaking from the bus. Never did we stop to say it could blow up or whatever; we just did what we had to do," said Sgt. Cynthia Miles.

When it comes to the accident, members of the unit say there are many things that seem somewhat ironic. For example, the unit was returning from training on how to deal with rollover accidents. And just last month they completed training on saving lives. Not only this, their time of departure placed them where they were needed.

"The thing about it is that our bus was the last bus in the series of buses, and somehow, for some reason, we moved to the front," said Sgt. First Class Ike Gipson.

"I've never left early in the military," said Sgt. Gregory Thomas. "The first time I left early was Sunday morning. I guess God put us where he wanted us and that was there."

Meanwhile, as the Alabama National Guard prepares to honor the unit, members say they are not heroes, but instead, were just doing their duty.

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  • by Angela Location: Lisman on Jul 17, 2009 at 08:06 PM
    Thank god for the Army National Guard,we may not always know our destination,but god does.thank god you were in the right place at the right time.we will continue to pray for the families and also our National Guard Family.
  • by Ashley Location: Lauderdale, MS on Jul 15, 2009 at 03:39 PM
    Thank you to the men and women of the 2101st Trans Co. Thank you for answering your call to duty(God's Call) How awesome that he put you there right when needed!!! And that you knew exactly what to do!!! How Awesome:)!!!! Thank you to WTOK for Airing this story!!
  • by Larry Location: Montgomery on Jul 15, 2009 at 07:23 AM
    Selfless actions like this make me proud to be a member of the Alabama Army National Guard. We always need to remember that God has a plan for us, whether that be for us to help someone or for someone to help us. God bless you.
  • by Bradford Location: birmingham on Jul 14, 2009 at 05:20 PM
    To all the soldiers in Det.1 2101st Tran Co.The right people in the right place at the right time, God is always know who he needs to look after his people. Great Job!! Troops and God Speed on our deployment a grat way to start it off. DARRELL
  • by sharon Location: butler on Jul 14, 2009 at 04:14 PM
    I am very proud of my comrades.I trust that God will be with all the accident victims and their families.It just shows that the national guard does not just serve overseas,but in country as well.Good job 2101st..
  • by J C Rigby Location: Hattiesburg MS on Jul 14, 2009 at 01:12 PM
    Thank goodness for the National Guard! Not only do they defend our country at home and abroad but they are always there for people in times of need. Thank you as a parent of a children that went to church camp for years with no incidents. Praise and honor to all the soldiers in this unit for the bravery they showed. Our prayers are with the youth and adults involved in this terrible event.
  • by Location: Livingston Alabama on Jul 14, 2009 at 12:26 PM
    This is such an heroic feat that that tha Guard did. Two thumbs up for all of you!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!!!
  • by aj Location: philadelphia on Jul 14, 2009 at 12:18 PM
    God bless y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by CARL Location: PHILLY on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:58 AM
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