Following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005, the PHS deployed over 2500 Commissioned Corps officers and over 1200 unpaid federal employees across the Gulf Coast region. In addition to their regular jobs at various government agencies, the PHS officers were trained in emergency relief. When the need arose last summer, they received orders to leave their regular jobs and go to the Gulf Coast, where they served as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, engineers, administrators, environmental health officers, veterinarians, mental health experts, and mortuary experts. They treated people in shelters; triaged during evacuation processing; vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis A, and influenza; brought safe drinking water; reestablished waste water systems; assessed public buildings for use as schools; evaluated hospitals, shelters, and nursing homes; ensured safe food and pharmaceuticals; treated sick and abandoned animals; and provided comfort and assurance. To provide these services on the scale necessitated by Hurricane Katrina required advance training, planning, and on-site improvisation. Our story, which unfolded in Alexandria, Louisiana, shows what happened on the ground.