Iowa Flooding
A long convoy of four-wheelers carries sandbags up and down the levee in Kingston, Iowa while Airmen from Sioux City's 185th Air Refueling Wing prepare to put them into place. Approximately 180 Iowa Air National Guard members worked closely with residents of this rural community protect roughly 50,000 acres of farmland.

CAMP DODGE, Iowa (Army News Service, June 23, 2008) - The Iowa National Guard, in conjunction with other local, state and federal agencies, continued to provide assistance, coordination and planning in support of flood relief operations across the state of Iowa last week.

Many Iowa lakes, rivers and streams have been at near-record levels, flooding Iowa communities and forcing many Iowans out of their homes. More than 80 of Iowa's 99 counties have been declared state disaster areas.

Approximately 2,900 Soldiers and Airmen are currently activated for flood response operations in Iowa. Since their activation, they have been busy partnering with federal, state, county, and local officials throughout the state, from Burlington to Des Moines to Cedar Rapids and elsewhere.

Sgt. Sean Rohret, a Company C, 133rd Infantry, Soldier who has deployed as part of the Sinai Peninsula peacekeeping mission and served a tour of duty in Iraq, said it feels good to be pitching in to help rescue his home state.

"It's pretty gratifying to actually be able to get out here and help the community," he said. "I've seen a lot of people out sandbagging, a lot of people coming up to us, asking us where they can go to help. It's been a pretty wonderful experience getting to see everybody come together."

"It's a pleasure giving something back to the community," agreed Sgt. 1st Class Chino Halpin, from 334th Brigade Support Battalion. "It's good service."

The Soldiers' duties included assisting with security, levees, traffic control and water pump operations. They are also providing emergency water supplies, providing transportation assets for local officials and helping with recovery operations.

In conjunction with the governor's office and the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa National Guard will continue to respond to requests from within the state.

(Editor's Note: A report from Dona Miles of the American Forces Information Service contributed to this article.)

Page last updated Mon June 23rd, 2008 at 09:48