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Tornado, Flood Response Jumps to 5,000 Guardsmen

By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., June 3, 2011 – In the aftermath of severe storms that brought devastating tornadoes to areas of Missouri and Massachusetts and major flooding across the Midwest and other parts of the country, the number of National Guard personnel who are answering the call for help has risen to about 5,000.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Walstad and soldiers from the North Dakota National Guard's 957th Engineer Company and 814th Medical Company help to build a sandbag dike for a homeowner along Nordic Lane in Bismarck, N.D., June 2, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Amy Wieser Willson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Guard members are performing domestic operations for flood relief support in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont and Wyoming.

Operations include transportation and aviation support, levee patrols and security, assisting local and federal civilian emergency management agencies, evacuation support, search and rescue operations and sandbag operations.

In areas of Montana, Vermont and Wyoming, heavy rains and melting snow have created rising waters that prompted evacuation of Washington County, Vermont, residents.

In the Dakotas, about 3,000 Guard members are battling flood waters after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened oversaturated up-river dams earlier this week along the Missouri River.

Louisiana and Mississippi Guard members remain vigilant in their battle against the waters of the Mississippi River after severe storms swelled the river earlier this year. Operations continue in both states, where about 1,200 Guard members are operating.

Tornadoes have been another part of these heavy storms recently, and parts of Massachusetts and Missouri have both seen extensive damage. About 450 citizen-soldiers and -airmen were on duty the morning after tornadoes tore across central Massachusetts on June 1. About 675 Guardsmen are on state active duty.

About 275 Missouri National Guard members are performing various domestic operations in the Joplin area after a major twister leveled large portions of that city May 22.

Operations in both Missouri and Massachusetts include search and rescue, debris removal and cleanup, health and wellness checks, assisting local and federal emergency responders and damage assessment, Guard officials said.


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