Missouri Guard Helps Flood-impacted Communities
By Air Force Airman 1st Class Nathan Dampf
131st Bomb Wing
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., Aug. 9, 2013 Missouri National Guard members are busy supporting traffic control points and other missions to help local authorities in central Missouri after Gov. Jay Nixon mobilized them Aug. 7 to assist residents with flood response brought on by recent heavy rains.
Gov. Jay Nixon and Air Force Brig. Gen. David W. Newman, joint chief of staff for the Missouri National Guard respond to flooding that affected several south-central counties Aug. 7-8, 2013. Missouri National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Dampf
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
About 50 military police are on duty. Counting additional Guard members assigned as county liaison officers and manning the Missouri National Guard's tactical operations center established in the area, there are about 80 citizen-soldiers helping out in the region.
Guard members from the 35th Engineer Brigade and the 1138th Military Police Company assisted emergency personnel during evacuations and redirected motorists at flooded roads and bridges at traffic control points.
"Missouri's Guardsmen have been influential in helping their Missouri neighbors," said Air Force Brig. Gen. David W. Newman, joint chief of staff of the Missouri National Guard. "I am proud of our team of citizen-soldiers who have worked hand-in-hand with local leaders and emergency personnel to accomplish the mission set out by Gov. Nixon."
Guard members working out of Fort Leonard Wood and military police spearheaded the operation.
According to Army Lt. Col. William McKinney, the task force commander, more than 60 homes have been destroyed and 120 damaged or affected by the flooding. Local safety personnel have responded to more than 295 calls for service and assisted in more than 60 live rescues, said McKinney. At least two people, a woman and her young son, were killed.
"Our military police are highly trained and working well with local authorities, including Waynesville Police Chief Robert Carter and Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long," McKinney said. "In our first operational day, we established great communication with the emergency management departments and emergency operations centers. Our Guardsmen have been very successful."
To discuss the operation, Nixon held a roundtable meeting with city and county leaders at the Waynesville City Hall. He was joined by Newman, Andrea Spillars, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety; Army Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, base commander of Fort Leonard Wood; and members of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
After the meeting, Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman escorted Nixon to view some of the damage around the city hall building. Hardman said homes, including a mobile-home park and rental properties were damaged by the rise of Mitchell Creek and the Roubidoux River that runs behind the city hall building.
Hardman thanked Nixon for the quick response of state resources, including the Missouri National Guard.
"They responded very quickly," Hardman said. "They have been a wonderful addition. We are thrilled with the partnership. We appreciate them greatly."