As the town of Moore, Okla., recovers from a devastating tornado that hit earlier this week, the Oklahoma National Guard has played an integral role in the process. Just hours after the storm passed through, hundreds of Guardsmen were on the scene helping look for survivors and they will likely remain as the clean-up process continues, according to the Army's official website.
Local residents are just beginning to feel the full effects of the storm. Officials say the twister, which had winds of up to 200 miles per hour, killed 24 people – 10 of whom were children. Although many of the service members helping out in the recovery have been to devastated areas before, they say the damage inflicted on Moore – estimated to be about $2 billion – is among the worst they have ever seen.
"This is a thousand times worse [than a 1999 tornado that also hit Moore]. It's like a war zone." Sgt. Mike Bell told NBC News, "I was deployed to Katrina in 2005; that was bad. This is – words can't describe how bad this is."
The scene in Moore evokes memories of a powerful tornado that struck the city of Joplin, Mo., in 2011. That storm caused the deaths of more than 160 people.