USA — National Guard Members Battle Floods

ARLINGTON, Va., June 25, 2010 — Almost 300 Nation­al Guard mem­bers from four states are help­ing to bat­tle oncom­ing and long-gone flood waters this week.

In South Dako­ta, 130 sol­diers from the 200th Engi­neer Com­pa­ny and the 153rd Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion are help­ing to fill sand­bags in the towns of Huron, Woonsock­et and Bonil­la. The mis­sion is to place about 20,000 sand­bags in Woonsock­et to chan­nel water through the town.

Army Maj. Bren­dan Mur­phy, pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the South Dako­ta Guard, said emer­gency man­age­ment per­son­nel will decide tomor­row whether more sand­bags are need­ed. About 3,000 sand­bags have been staged in Bonil­la.

In Mis­souri, Gov. Jay Nixon called up 33 sol­diers with vehi­cle sup­port to remove debris from the north­west coun­ties of Min­go, Logan, Wyoming and McDow­ell.

Task Force North­west is com­mand­ed by Air Force Col. Mike Pankau of the 139th Air­lift Wing, based in St. Joseph, Mo.

Guard offi­cials said the dams in the Dako­tas are full, and that the Army Corps of Engi­neers plans to let out water to release pres­sure on them, which will increase the water flow in the Mis­souri Riv­er.

“Sol­diers and air­men are con­duct­ing a vari­ety of mis­sions sup­port­ing civ­il author­i­ties, includ­ing man­ning traf­fic con­trol points and mon­i­tor­ing lev­ees,” said Army 2nd Lt. John Quin, a pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the Mis­souri Guard. “Guards­men are also serv­ing as liai­son offi­cers with local emer­gency oper­a­tions cen­ters and civ­il author­i­ties.”

North Dako­ta has one UH-60 Black Hawk heli­copter and its 10-mem­ber crew on stand-by to respond, if need­ed, to evac­u­ate res­i­dents unable to use the roads in the Dev­ils Lake area. “The crew should be relieved today as Dev­ils Lake takes over the evac­u­a­tion mis­sion with a high-lift­ed ambu­lance,” said Army Lt. Col. Rick Smith, pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the North Dako­ta Nation­al Guard.

West Vir­ginia has almost 100 Guards­men clean­ing up the debris that res­i­dents found in their homes in Wyoming Coun­ty, said Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Cadle, pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the West Vir­ginia Guard. About 55 coun­ties in the state have been affect­ed by rain and rapid­ly melt­ing snow since spring.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)