MINOT, N.D., June 22, 2011 -- Alongside local officials and the Minot community, the North Dakota National Guard is working to ensure a safe evacuation of approximately 12,000 people and 4,200 homes in Minot in addition to the Souris River Valley.

Sirens sounded earlier today, notifying the evacuation area that it was time to vacate with their final belongings to avoid the historic flood waters as they spilled over the sides of levees.

“It’s a sad day for the people of this city, but one that brought the community together to ensure the safety of its citizens” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “Currently we have about 500 North Dakota Guard members on duty in the Minot-Burlington area during this historic flooding event."

"Right now our focus is on the safety of the Minot people,” said Sprynczynatyk. “I am proud of the way our Soldiers and Airmen continue to assist the residents working shoulder-to-shoulder with the community and civil authorities.”

Guardsmen will work through this evening alongside the local authorities to make sure all identified homes have been evacuated.

Future operations in Minot for the North Dakota National Guard will include traffic control points and presence patrols. At the same time, more than 275 Guard members are in the Bismarck and Mandan area conducting levee patrols and quick reaction forces in the event of an emergency situation.

“Whether it’s been traffic control, levee monitoring or evacuation assistance, our guardsmen have performed well in every mission asked of them. Through this catastrophic event, your Guard stands ready to assist,” said Sprynczynatyk. “We are able to do our jobs successfully thanks to our employers and families for being supportive when we need it the most.”

The North Dakota National Guard is highly experienced in conducting flood operations to mitigate the loss of life and property. The Guard has been serving on flood duty in North Dakota’s central region for the past 30 days.

Earlier this spring, the North Dakota National Guard spent 32 days on flood operations across the state, with 1,486 Guardsmen contributing to the effort at some point during the mission. Approximately 37,000 Guard man-days have been contributed to flood operation in 2011.

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 a dozen North Dakota guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense.

For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.