By Staff Sgt. Amy Wieser WillsonMarch 26, 2010
HARWOOD, N.D. - As bigger cities safely lessen their focus on floodwaters, the threat - and the North Dakota National Guard's presence - in outlying areas remains. Harwood, N.D., just north of Fargo, is one of those areas. Overland flooding continues, and the town's 600 or so residents, along with North Dakota Soldiers and Airmen, remain vigilant.
During the day, Guard members stand ready in a quick response force situated at the Harwood Community Center. The team of 19 Guardsmen, who split their force into two for rotating 24-hour shifts, have dump trucks filled with sandbags, as well as a skid-steer loader and high-wheeled vehicles. They're ready to move out quickly when a call for help comes in.
At night, the quick response team shifts to dike patrols, looking for signs of leaks or seepage in the clay line of protection. It gives residents, who are responsible for monitoring the dike situation during the day, a chance for some peaceful rest.
"We do regular checks throughout the night at a few different locations to see if the dikes are eroding in the dark," said Senior Airman Anthony Rezac, of the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard.
The same situation has been playing out near Kindred with the Guard's quick reaction force that's stationed there.
"It was colder last night than it has been - the windchill dropped it below 0 - but the Guardsmen we talked to who were patrolling the dikes near Harwood were still upbeat. They were glad to be able to help out and give the homeowners a break from the stress they've been under lately," said Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, multimedia manager for the 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard. Lipp was on site to document the Guardsmen's efforts last night through photographs.
As the flood threat lessens, the quick response force teams have been called out less, with no calls having come in for a couple of days. The Guard expects the teams, as well as the dike patrol efforts, will be able to safely end their mission soon.
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.
High-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard. Navigate to the photo set titled "Nighttime Dike Patrol."
Video to accompany this release can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch'v=6dFDcjtpCX8.
For more information on North Dakota National Guard flood operations:
Flood 2010 Fact Sheet
Demand for Guard Lessens as Floodwaters Recede (3/24/2010)
National Guard Evacuation Team Helps Elderly Woman from Home (3/23/2010)
Deployed Spouse Shares in Promotion During Flood (3/22/2010)
Quick Reaction Force Saves House Near Kindred (3/21/2010)
Guardsmen Using New Tools in This Year's Flood Fight (3/20/2010)
Guard Quick Response Force Helps in Lidgerwood (3/19/2010)
Guardsmen Brave Elements During 12-Hour Dike Patrol Shifts (3/18/2010)
Guardsmen Volunteer to Help a Deployed Soldier's Family (3/17/2010) http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/news/Pages/GuardsmenhelpFamily.aspx
Guardsmen Install Flood Barrier Never Before Used in Fargo (3/17/2010) http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/news/Pages/GuardsmenInstallAquaFence.aspx
Small Crew of Soldiers Keeps Traffic Moving as Lisbon Prepares for Flooding (3/17/2010) http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/news/Pages/SoldiersKeepTrafficMoving.aspx
Sandbagging Major Focus of Day 2 Flood Operations (3/16/2010) http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/news/Pages/SandbaggingMajorFocusofDay2FloodOperations.aspx
N.D. National Guard Personnel Mobilized for Flood Duty (3/15/2010)
North Dakota's Military Police Prepare for Potential Flood (3/8/2010)
Guard Prepares for Potential Flooding Through Exercise (2/7/2010)