National Guard battles flood waters in four states
Sgt. Bernard Friend of the Missouri National Guard provides security to evacuated homes June 22 in Louisiana, Mo. Missouri National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are working with state and local agencies to provide security and help with flood-relief operations.

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, June 29, 2010) -- Almost 300 National Guard members from four states helped to battle flood waters last week and through the weekend.

In South Dakota, 130 Soldiers from the 200th Engineer Company and the 153rd Engineer Battalion helped to fill sandbags in the towns of Huron, Woonsocket and Bonilla.

The mission was to lay about 20,000 sandbags in Woonsocket to channel water through the town, while 3,000 sandbags were staged in Bonilla.

In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon called up Soldiers with vehicle support to remove debris from the northwest counties of Mingo, Logan, Wyoming and McDowell.

Missions continued over the weekend in the region as Guardsmen manned traffic control points and assisted law enforcement in patrolling the sparsely-populated areas.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general, toured the area to check the status of major flooding in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan and Holt counties.

Danner said the Guard is one of many groups working hard to protect the area.

"We have state and local responders, as well as the Civil Air Patrol, Army and Air here," Danner said. "It's been a great operation."

Guard officials said the dams in the Dakotas are full and the Army Corps of Engineers plans to let out water to release pressure on them, which will increase the water flow in the Missouri River.

"Soldiers and Airmen are conducting a variety of missions supporting civil authorities, including manning traffic control points and monitoring levees," said 2nd Lt. John Quin, Missouri Guard public affairs officer. "Guardsmen are also serving as liaison officers with local emergency operations centers and civil authorities."

North Dakota has a UH-60 helicopter and its 10-man crew on standby to respond if needed to evacuate residents unable to use the roads in the Devils Lake area.

"The crew should be relieved today as Devils Lake takes over the evacuation mission with a high-lifted ambulance," said Lt. Col. Rick Smith, public affairs officer for the North Dakota National Guard.

West Virginia has almost 100 Guardsmen cleaning up the debris that residents found in their homes in Wyoming County, said Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Cadle, public affairs officer for the Guard.

About 55 counties in West Virginia have been affected by rain and rapid snow melt since the spring.

(Spc. Heidi Kroll writes for the National Guard Bureau and Rachel Knight works for the Missouri National Guard Public Affairs.)

Page last updated Tue June 29th, 2010 at 16:55