News: North Dakota National Guard Responds in Force to Combat Rising Waters
Story by Bill Prokopyk
BISMARCK, N.D. — Nearly 250 North Dakota Guardsmen reported for duty in Bismarck March 25 to respond to flood emergencies generated by the high water levels on the Missouri River.
On March 24, Gov. Jack Dalrymple activated the North Dakota National Guard to assist communities in Ward, Morton and Burleigh counties. About 30 additional Guardsmen reported immediately to address the severe summer weather flooding threats posed by rising waters along the Souris River basin.
A surge of nearly 600 Guardsmen is expected to combat rapidly rising waters of the Missouri River March 25. Soldiers and airmen will conduct sandbagging operations, dike construction, manning traffic control points and conducting levee patrols.
“We are prepared to offer any assets and personnel we have available to mitigate the effects of summer flooding across the state,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “Our Guardsmen bring a wealth of experience after participating in emergency response operations for flooding the past three springs.”
Coordinating with local, state and federal agencies, Guardsmen were called upon to fight floods produced by an unprecedented 17 record river crests across North Dakota this spring. On May 6, the North Dakota National Guard ended its spring flood missions for 2011.
On March 25, the North Dakota National Guard was on duty in the Ward, Morton and Burleigh counties areas. In Minot, Guardsmen hauled sandbag machines to expedite sandbagging operations and continued to conduct levee patrols. In Bismarck, Guardsmen were busy filling and distributing sandbags at two sandbagging locations, Missouri Valley Fairgrounds and the Northern Plains Commerce Center. Meanwhile, three National Guard teams assisted with building dikes, transporting HESCO barriers, assisting residents with technical guidance on dike construction and manning 11 traffic control points.
As the first military responders, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready to provide personnel and equipment to assist our communities and state when ordered by the governor. About 3,300 soldiers and airmen are available to perform flood-response duties if needed.
This afternoon, Dalrymple, Bismarck Mayor John Warford, Sprynczynatyk along with several state, city and county officials assessed the swiftly rising Missouri River from a North Dakota National Guard Black Hawk helicopter. This assessment will enable officials to better coordinate the overall flood flight effort.
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.