This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," September 6, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Let's bring in Captain Joel Lynch of the Arkansas National Guard. Captain, you were recently at the New Orleans Convention Center. It's now been cleared out. I saw it today. I've never seen so much trash and decay in my life. But tell me what you saw when you were there.
CAPT. JOEL LYNCH, ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD: Well, when we pulled in, there were thousands of people out in the street. The place did smell pretty bad because, obviously, people had been living in the convention center for several days. Trash all over the place, a lot of sick people and people who just needed some food and water. And when we came in, we provided some security. We got the situation under control, and we gave them that food and water.
VAN SUSTEREN: Captain, was it hard to get it under control? I mean, like, when you go there today — I mean, obviously, they're all gone now from the convention center. I've just never seen anything like it. You can't even walk without stepping on trash.
LYNCH: Yes, the trash is all over the place. You've got furniture out there. You've got chairs from inside the convention center that have been brought outside, and also from some of the area businesses. You've got the porta-potties that are all over the place.
When we got in there, we didn't have any problem getting in under control. In fact, we were cheered as we were driving in. And when we pulled into the convention center, everyone was just so glad to see us. And we had no problem at all with any criminal or anybody causing us problems. They were just glad to see us. We moved in, we took over, and then started taking care of people.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, once that's successful, action was completed, now what are you doing, sir? What did you do today?
LYNCH: Right now, currently, my battalion, part of the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas. We are attached to the Jefferson parish sheriff's officer with some MPs from New Hampshire and also from Missouri. And we're working with the sheriff's office just to do active patrolling, providing security, doing checkpoints and things of that nature just to make sure that no looters come into the area where we're at. But I'm up in with my battalion in Metairie right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you called home and told your family about what you see?
LYNCH: Yes. Absolutely, I have. The first couple of days when we were down at the convention center, we were actually living under the riverwalk. And we couldn't really call out then, but there were some phones that were available, so we all called home. Cell phone service has been coming up with the power, as it has been coming up. And where we're at right now, cell phone service seems to be really good and soldiers are really not having any difficulty calling home because right now, everybody's got cell phones. So we're calling home, you know, every day and staying in touch there.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what do you tell your family you saw? How do you describe it to them?
LYNCH: It was pretty amazing. Right now, where we're at now in Metairie, there's a lot of wind damage, downed power lines, trees on homes and whatnot. But it's just a lot of wind damage where we're at now. Trying to describe to them the scene at the convention center — it's hard to describe unless you've actually had your boots in that trash and the smell. You cannot describe the smell that was coming out of the convention center. You know, you just try to paint them a picture and tell them to look at the news and see that and then just magnify it by about 100 because it was just such a heart-breaking scene, and also, to see all those people who were suffering.
But we squared that away. We got some medical attention to the folks, and also the food and water. And we loaded them on buses the next day, and that really made us feel good because those Arkansas Guard soldiers, we got them on buses and, you know, to that next phase of this recovery.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea who's going to do this clean-up, I mean, the stench, the filth, the dirty diapers, the trash, and in some instances, even bodies. Any idea who's going to clean this up?
LYNCH: No. I really have no idea what the overall plan is. Where we're at, we're isolated from the news. I mean, I catch some of the hurricane coverage, but you know, I'm not sure how much they're talking about that. The bodies, I believe, have been taken care of. You know, that issue was dealt with.
And so that situation is pretty much behind us. It's under control, and we're just moving on to, you know, helping the city to recovery. And that's going very well. The sheriff's office and the hospitals in the area, we're working very closely with each other, providing each other support, security and whatnot. And things are going very well.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Captain. And thanks, of course, to the Arkansas Guard. Thank you, Captain.
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