Flooding, Local Assistance, and a Militia: involvement of a local group in response to Hurricane Harvey

Hampton Stall
Published in
5 min readOct 8, 2017


In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Governor Greg Abbott contends that his state alone requires up to $180 billion to cover the damages committed by the storm. It’s a daunting figure that dwarfs the $7.85 billion that the president of the US has ordered of Congress.

Regardless of the expressed need and the requested funding for any reconstruction, something largely ignored in the conversation around response to the storm and other similar disasters is the activity that militias and their networks undertake in their wake. This quick piece examines the response by a Texas militia to the storm.

Sample screenshot of NYT’s Hurricane Harvey rainfall visualization. Full article available here.

The New York Times has a great visualization of the rainfall from Harvey over time that is useful for understanding the width and strength of even just one aspect of the storm. The article details in map form a lot of the effects of the storm, a critical context to the substance of the militia follow-up to the storm.

Primary responding militia: Texas Republic Militia

The Texas Republic Militia (TRM) is a patriot militia operating in the state of Texas. Their logo features an outline of Texas with a color-altered version of the Texas flag — rather than using the red, white, and blue of the flag, TRM uses a more camouflage-oriented green, white, and brown. The logo is then emblazoned with “We The People”, the first three words of the preamble to the American Constitution.

There are regional chapters of the TRM that work autonomously under the same guiding principles. The critical chapter for this piece is the southern region, headed by a woman out of the Houston area.

Statewide TRM conducts weapons training, first aid tutorials, and FTX (field training exercises) every month or two in Cut & Shoot, TX. The southern regional division has potluck meetings to discuss regional happenings and needs. The chapter has developed a fairly broad network for both addressing needs as well as responding to them.

TRM is not affiliated with the state’s III% chapter, though members and even official publications or sites do include roman numeral III’s in occasional posts (longer post on Georgia’s III% chapter available here). This is in part due to the fact that III% propaganda is produced in high volume and in reference to a specific set of values. Whether or not the Texas III% chapter is respected by members of local patriot militias, many of the members feel compelled to post III% memes or have accepted the broad principles of the Three Percent movement.

Type of response

TRM South chapter members, in conjunction with volunteers from elsewhere in the state and surrounding region, began emergency response in the ways they felt were most important to the communities affected by the storm. This response required volunteers willing to work as well as a substantial network for supply and support (more on a similar network here). This usually fell into three types of operations: rescue, immediate aid, and post-storm assistance.

Rescue missions are exactly as they sound. These operations involved volunteers using their vehicles to evacuate stranded individuals, whether by boat or truck. For these events, militia leaders would connect those willing to help to response efforts by sending coordinates of deeply effected areas. Many volunteers would then post videos and text updates of the events of the day, often times to support from other responders.

Immediate aid efforts were those responses that involved delivery of food and basic needs to those impacted by the storm. This involved not only logistic support for goods arriving through militia networks but also in the designation of areas requiring these deliveries.

Finally, post-storm assistance, involving deconstruction and reconstruction efforts, likely make up the largest set of hurricane response by militia members. This type of operation is fairly widespread, with militia members and other volunteers removing waterlogged floors and helping reorganize after the flooding ruined homes.

All of these efforts included a needs-based deployment of assistance, whereby a militia leader would identify an area of need from a headquarters, ask those available to respond, and forward the necessary details to the responding individual or unit.

Area of response

Using information on location-based TRM and allies activities during and after the hurricane, the response area roughly covers the Texas coast, from Corpus Christie in the southwest to the areas just east of Houston.

Area of TRM response to Harvey highlighted in red. Basemap and overlay through Google Earth, 2017.

The area was covered mostly from a headquarters in a town just south of Houston in the immediate aftermath of the storm, with individuals driving in with their trucks and boats to respond to the emergency.

A complementary piece on militia response to Harvey was also published on MilitiaWatch, available here.



Hampton Stall

conflict, militias, uprisings