Guard Continues Midwest Flood Relief Efforts
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., June 21, 2011 About 2,000 National Guard members from nine states are continuing relief operations in the wake of the 2011 Midwest floods, which have ravaged thousands of acres and potentially caused billions of dollars in damage, National Guard officials said today.
Soldiers of the North Dakota National Guard's 816th Engineer Company provide sandbags to raise the height of the levee near Burlington, N.D., June 14, 2011. Because of the heavy rain the state received, the 816th was tasked to raise several low spots on levees throughout their area. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cassandra Simonton
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Guard members from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have been working tirelessly, some for about three months, to protect their states and citizens from the devastation of rising rivers.
The Arkansas Army National Guard is providing soldiers, as well as interagency liaison officers, to the Joint Operations Center for better command and control.
In Iowa, where the Missouri River has caused the shutdown of much of Interstate 29 in the western part of the state, the National Guard has been evacuating residents and patrolling levees in multiple counties.
Due to the June 13 rupture of a primary levee on the Iowa-Missouri border, Iowa Guard members working with the Army Corps of Engineers on June 15 built a secondary levee to protect the southwest Iowa community of Hamburg from an overflow of the Missouri River.
Kansas Guard members are continuing to patrol threatened levees, monitoring them for potential weakness from the pressure of the rising Missouri River.
Guard members from Louisiana are performing levee patrols and area security, providing aviation support and resource transportation for critical areas affected by the flooding.
With seven counties heavily affected by the floods, Missouri National Guard members are providing liaison officers and have been moving nonmission-essential equipment to Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., in preparation for a potential relocation of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
Nebraska Guard members are providing levee monitoring for the city of Omaha and have prepared generators in the event they are needed for critical areas.
North Dakota Guard members are running 24-hour operations, providing quick response forces and ground search and rescue teams to multiple counties throughout the state.
In South Dakota, Guard members are providing air assets for sandbagging efforts and personnel transportation. They have deployed a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team and more than 100 hand-held radios to increase communication throughout the state.
The Wyoming National Guard has activated its emergency operations center while performing flood mitigation in several counties.
The Guard also is in full swing for the annual hurricane season, but will continue its current operations both at home and abroad, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said.
"Your National Guard has been fully engaged in the war fight overseas, and we also stand ready to answer the call domestically when a disaster happens,” Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley said.