By Lt. Col. Steve Ranson and Sgt. 1st Class Erick StudenickaJanuary 9, 2008
RENO, Nev. (Army News Service, Jan. 9, 2008) -- Nevada Sen. Harry Reid inspected the flooded town of Fernely, Nev., in an Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Monday and requested President George Bush declare the Fernley flood a disaster, making home and business owners and the town eligible for federal aid.
A joint effort among three military services provided some quick relief for Fernley flood victims over the weekend.
The Nevada National Guard delivered more than 93,000 Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, to the North Lyon Fire District's fire station Sunday after picking up the rations at Fallon Naval Air Station.
Three U.S. Coast Guard C-130 transport planes picked up the MREs at Moffitt Field near San Jose, Calif., and flew them to NAS Fallon to await the 45-minute drive to Fernley.
"Each pallet contained 2,304 MREs," said Lt. Mike Woodrum, operations officer with Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento.
The Nevada Army Guard's 593rd Transportation Company based out of the Washoe County Armory north of Reno was tasked with the ground transportation.
Staff Sgt. Patrick Marshall, convoy commander, was one of about 40 Soldiers and Airmen activated on state active duty orders to assist Fernley residents.
"All of our Soldiers volunteered for this mission," Marshall said.
About 800 homes and business were hit by the flood. Waters are draining but rose to eight feet in places.
Gov. Jim Gibbons has already declared a state of emergency, which gave the county state help.
Sen. Reid said he would make it his priority to get the town's residents back into their homes as quickly as possible during a news conference Monday at the Nevada Air National Guard base in Reno following his flight over Fernely.
Sen. Reid said Nevada Sen. John Ensign, U.S. Rep. Dean Heller (Nevada) would send a letter to the president Monday describing the damage caused when the Truckee Canal broke Saturday, forcing about 1,500 people in Fernley out of their homes.
What he saw when he flew over the two-mile flooded area surprised him.
"I thought it would be like a city block, but it's a really large area," he said.
Workers from the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working on an estimate of the damage. The president has to declare a disaster for any federal funds to go to the city or residents.
(Lt. Col. Steve Ranson and Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka serve with Nevada National Guard Public Affairs.)