HARWOOD, N.D. - After going a few days without an emergency call, the North Dakota National Guard's quick reaction force team in Harwood, N.D., responded to a request this afternoon. The Cass County Sheriff's Department asked for assistance with a vehicle recovery mission.

"This is a perfect example of the partnership we have with the Guard," said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. "We respond together. We deal with these events together. I can't say enough about the Guard. They have a major part in our partnership here as we prove over and over again - this is how we take care of our people in North Dakota, and we do it as a team."

A man driving a few miles west of Harwood became partially submerged on a washed out portion of a gravel road. The driver was able to get out of the car and made his way through the freezing water to safety before the quick reaction force arrived.

Once on scene, Sgt. Preston L. Steele, of Fargo, and Spc. Jeremy Kasperson, of Fargo, attached a chain to the partially submerged car and, with the help of their team, freed it from the washout. Both Steele and Kasperson serve with the North Dakota Army National Guard's 815th Engineer Company, which is based in Wishek, N.D.

They're part of a group of 19 Guardsmen who split duties at the Harwood site, with half working 24 hours before switching out with the other half of the group. By day, they respond to calls that come in to the Emergency Operations Center from local agencies and residents. At night, they patrol the dikes in Harwood so that residents can rest. Townspeople monitor the dikes themselves during daylight hours.

A similar situation plays out in Kindred, where another Guard quick reaction force team is situated. Improving conditions in these areas of Cass County mean the Guard will likely be able to end these missions by early next week.
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<i>Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 800 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas. With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, sufficient forces remain in the state for emergency response and homeland defense.</i>

<b><u>Photos</b></u>
High-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard. Navigate to the photo set titled "Harwood Auto Recovery."

Page last updated Fri March 26th, 2010 at 09:39