Guard Fights Flooding in North Dakota
American Forces Press Service
FARGO, N.D., March 24, 2009 The North Dakota National Guard has stepped up its flood-fighting efforts in the Red River Valley in North Dakota.
About 800 Guard troops should be on duty in the eastern part of the state by the end of today. The soldiers and airmen are mostly based in Fargo and Wahpeton, N.D., although contingents have been assisting other towns in need. Additional soldiers are responding in the Bismarck-Mandan area and other western North Dakota communities.
“We have soldiers and airmen working around the clock to respond to communities’ emergency requests,” said Army Col. Jim Hrdlicka, of Bismarck, N.D., who is commanding the Joint Task Force East here. “Despite predictions, we are very confident that North Dakota citizens and our communities, together with the Guard, Department of Emergency Services, Department of Transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can mitigate this threat to the best of our abilities.”
Joint Task Force East comprises soldiers from the North Dakota Army National Guard and airmen from the North Dakota Air National Guard working together to coordinate and manage local flood-fighting support.
Since the first group in-processed here March 20, soldiers and airmen have filled and hauled sandbags, transported equipment such as pumps and a generator light set, provided trained military police for traffic control points in risky areas, helped to construct a clay dike here, and worked to set up and fill “Hesco” barriers for flood protection.
Commonly used to protect troops from explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hesco barriers are large containers that offer protection when filled with sand. Guard troops have been helping to haul sand for them from Sabin, Minn.
“As we stabilize the site here in Fargo, we’re prepared to move north to Grand Forks later this week,” Army Capt. Craig Hillig, operations officer for Joint Task Force East, said. “We will still have personnel in Fargo, but we’ll be
moving north to follow the water.”
Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general, extended his gratitude to employers throughout North Dakota who continue to share the talent and skills of citizen-soldiers and -airmen in their employment with the North Dakota National Guard.
“Fighting the flooding of 2009 will take a massive community effort. The North Dakota National Guard is one major component of this effort,” the general said. “By allowing employees who also are Guardsmen to serve in this response, employers are contributing to our communities.
“Employers play an incredibly valuable support role throughout our many missions, whether here fighting floods or abroad fighting terrorists, and we thank them sincerely for their continued support of our men and women in uniform.”