By Tech. Sgt. John Orrell, National Guard BureauJune 21, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va., June 21, 2011 -- About 2,000 National Guard members from nine states are continuing operations in support of the 2011 Midwest floods, which have ravaged thousands of acres and potentially caused billions of dollars in damage, Guard officials said.
Guard members from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have been working tirelessly, some for about three months, to protect their states and citizens from the devastation of multiple rising rivers.
The Arkansas Army National Guard is providing Soldiers to the Joint Operations Center and inter-agency liaison officers for better command and control.
In Iowa, where the Missouri River has caused the shutdown of much of Interstate 29 in the western part of the state, the National Guard has been evacuating citizens and patrolling levees in multiple counties.
Due to a primary levee on the Iowa-Missouri border rupturing on June 13, 2011, Iowa Guard members working with the Army Corps of Engineers built a secondary levee to protect the southwest Iowa community of Hamburg from flooding on the Missouri River June 15, 2011.
Kansas Guard members are continuing to patrol affected levees, monitoring them for potential weakness from the ever-present pressure of the rising Missouri River waters.
Guard members from Louisiana are performing levee patrols and area security, providing aviation support and resource transportation for critical areas affected by the flooding.
With seven counties heavily affected by the floods, Missouri National Guard members are providing liaison officers and have been moving non-mission essential equipment to Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., in preparation of a potential relocation of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
Nebraska Guard members are providing levee monitoring for the city of Omaha and have prepared generators in the event they are needed for critical areas.
North Dakota Guard members are still running 24-hour operations. They are providing quick response forces and ground search and rescue teams to multiple counties throughout the state.
North Dakota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with hoist capabilities are also being utilized to place one-ton sandbags along weakened levees.
In South Dakota, Guard members are providing air assets for sandbagging efforts and the transportation of personnel. They have deployed a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team and more than 100 hand-held radios to increase communication throughout the state.
The Wyoming National Guard has activated its emergency operations center while performing flood mitigation in several counties.
After a more-than-normal spring season of weather, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several other events such as the worst tornado in recorded history, the Guard is now in full swing for the annual hurricane season, but will continue its current operations both home and abroad, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said.
"Your National Guard has been fully engaged in the warfight overseas, and we also stand ready to answer the call domestically when a disaster happens," said Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley.