By By Staff Sgt. Amy Wieser WillsonApril 1, 2010
BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota National Guard will end 2010 flood operations today, as the remaining members of a Cass County quick response force team complete their out-processing. Gov. John Hoeven activated the Guard on March 15 to respond to the flood threat, which was especially prevalent in southeastern North Dakota.
"Once again, our National Guard members have done an outstanding job of serving and protecting our communities and our citizens," Hoeven said. "In locations across the state, Guard members were there, ready and prepared to assist with spring flooding emergencies. From rapid response to vehicle recoveries to walking dikes at night, our Guard members played an important role in North Dakota's flood fight and contributed to the success of those efforts."
During the 18 days that Guardsmen served this year, about 58,800 individual hours were dedicated to flood operations by about 750 Airmen and Soldiers. During that time, Guardsmen served in a variety of roles, including sandbagging, manning traffic control points, patrolling dikes, responding to emergencies from strategically positioned quick reaction force teams and providing coordination and operational support for Guardsmen alongside city, county and state leaders.
"The North Dakota National Guard is the first military responder to any type of natural disaster or emergency. We train and prepare side-by-side with state and community organizations and individuals to ensure smooth, seamless operations, and that certainly paid off. Everyone worked well together, and that's a big part of why this ended so successfully," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "I am extremely proud of our Airmen, our Soldiers, our Families and our employers. Each plays a huge role in the success we all enjoy when the North Dakota National Guard is called to duty, whether it's at home or abroad."
Planning for potential flooding began about four months ago, when meetings and exercises began to help Guardsmen prepare. They also looked at lessons learned from the 2009 flood fight, which saw more than four times as many Guardsmen on duty for about five times as long.
"You learned a lot last year in the 2009 flood. It looks to me like everything in the 2010 timeframe is running very efficiently and very effectively," said Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, during his March 22 visit to Fargo.
While flooding was more widespread last year, much of it was confined to southeastern North Dakota this year, with the bulk of the Guard's time and resources going to assist Cass County.
"Here's a perfect example of the partnership we have with the Guard," said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney after a vehicle recovery mission coordinated between his office and the National Guard in late March. "We respond together, we're dealing with all of these events together."
In Fargo, the Red River crested at 36.99 feet on March 21, the seventh highest level ever recorded since tracking began in the late 1800s. The planning and preparation put in to this year's effort by numerous agencies severely reduced the catastrophe such a water level could have caused.
Even after Guardsmen safely ended their mission in Fargo, quick response force teams remained active in areas just outside of town - Harwood to the north and Kindred to the south. The teams helped build and reinforce sandbag levees and clay dikes when emergency calls came in. They also helped evacuate an elderly woman from her home near Harwood and carried small farm animals to safety.
Throughout the entire flood operation, Guardsmen served in support roles, as well. For 24 hours a day, they worked as liaison officers, provided logistical and communications support, helped with administrative areas, produced media products to tell the story, and managed missions and troop levels.
"The men and women of the North Dakota National Guard really did a spectacular job serving their state and communities during this year's flood operations," said Col. Ron Solberg, who led the Guard's flood 2010 operations in the southeastern part of the state. "Everyone put in long days to get the job done, but their spirits and energy were great. Their hard work and the partnerships we have with our communities and counties really contributed to this mission being as successful as it was."
Although the flood mission officially ends today, about 10 Guardsmen will remain on duty for necessary clean-up and transport missions to ensure all Guard equipment is ready and positioned for any future potential mission. Additionally, the North Dakota National Guard continues to monitor the flood potential across the state since many areas remain saturated, and there is always the possibility of heavy spring rainfall.
"No matter what may happen, the North Dakota National Guard is always ready to respond to any type of disaster," Sprynczynatyk said.
2010 Flood Operations By the Numbers
Aca,!Ac 4 months planning, preparing and practicing, including two flood exercises based on lessons learned from the 2009 flood
Aca,!Ac 18 total days spent on flood operations in 2010 (March 15 through April 1)
Aca,!Ac 4,900 days served by Guardsmen on flood operations, or about 58,800 hours
Aca,!Ac 790 personnel, the most on duty during any given day of flood 2010 operations; this included 731 North Dakota National Guard Airmen and Soldiers, 34 personnel helping through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), 16 U.S. Coast Guard members, 6 temporary state employees and 3 aviation personnel from the National Guard Bureau
Aca,!Ac 64.3 hours flown in support of flood operations
o 20 missions over 49.2 hours in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
o 3 missions over 4.8 hours in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter
o 1 mission for 2.4 hours in a OH-58 Kiowa helicopter
o 5 missions over 7.9 hours in a C-12 turboprop aircraft
Aca,!Ac More than 1.47 billion (yes, with a "B") people in a combined potential audience of videos, stories and photos distributed through DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) via the North Dakota National Guard
Aca,!Ac 187,503 impressions on flood-related postings at http://www.facebook.com/NDNationalGuard (as of noon Tuesday, March 30)
Aca,!Ac 1,324 media outlets requested, received or used flood-related photos, video or stories from the North Dakota National Guard's Public Affairs Offices
Aca,!Ac 293,040 impressions (per DMA calculations) on flood-related postings sent by http://www.twitter.com/NDNationalGuard (as of noon yesterday)
Aca,!Ac 12,673 views of flood photos loaded to http://www.flickr.com/photos/NDGuard (as of noon yesterday)
Aca,!Ac 29 flood-related videos in the 2010 Flood Fight Playlist at http://www.youtube.com/NDNationalGuard, which garnered 1,578 views (as of noon yesterday)
For a by-day, by-county breakdown of the North Dakota National Guard's 2010 flood response, please see our 2010 Flood Fact Sheet posted at http://ndngflood2010.wikispaces.com.
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.
A wide variety of high-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard/collections/72157623625617608/ .
More than two dozen videos are available on our Flood Fight 2010 Playlist on YouTube: www.youtube.com/NDNationalGuard.
For more information:
2010 Flood Fact Sheet
Guard's Nighttime Dike Patrols Allow Harwood Residents to Rest
Guard's Quick Response Force Called Out for Vehicle Recovery
Demand for Guard Lessens as Flood Waters Recede
National Guard Evacuation Team Helps Elderly Woman from Home
Chief of National Guard Bureau Visits Flood Sites
Deployed Spouse Shares in Promotion During Flood
Quick Reaction Force Saves House Near Kindred
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)