/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Guard Soldiers fight flood close to home

Thousands of National Guard troops and airmen are working around the clock as part of the flood fighting effort in the Red River Valley Among them are several hundred Minnesota Soldiers They're watching the flood from several angles But their helicopters are not in the air because of the late winter storm that's grounded flights until early Wednesday morning

March 31, 2009

MOORHEAD, Minn - The Ward Muscatell Kia dealership in Moorhead has a newfound military look to it, but not because they've started trying to sell Hummers

The car lot is providing space to the military

Camouflaged trucks and humvees sit alongside new cars up for sale in the parking lot

Inside on one end of the long, wide service center garage, about a half dozen cars are under repair

On the other end, three dozen Minnesota National Guard troops are camped out among the tool boxes and car lifts Two huge military trucks filled with sandbags are ready to roll out the back overhead door

"We're the first line of defense if the dike breaches," said Ray Pizarro, 36, of Moorhead

He is among the Soldiers who make up one of several quick response teams

"Right now we're the quick reaction force," he said "If the dike breaks we will respond to it and fix it before anything happens"

Flood waters are not threatening Pizarro's home, so a little more than a week ago when the opportunity to volunteer for flood duty came, Pizarro immediately traded life with his wife, two kids, two dogs and two cats for full-time Soldiering

"We're just waiting for the call," he said "When the city needs us, we want to respond"

Many more guard troops are a few miles north of the car dealership at the Moorhead Armory

The main drill floor area of the building is filled with sleeping cots It's kept dark around the clock so off-duty Soldiers can rest

Nearly 700 Minnesota Guard troops and airmen are on flood duty in the Red River Valley About four of every five of them have served in Iraq or Afghanistan This deployment at home is closer to the Guard's traditional role

Guard officials say they're working 12 hours on and 12 hours off patrolling dikes, directing traffic, evacuating citizens and securing neighborhoods

Many of the Soldiers have volunteered to help with the flood work More than half are from the Red River Valley, including Nathan Ketterling, 23, who lives in Fargo

"At first there were the sandbag sites to help keep the flow of it smooth" he said "And then we went to quick response forces to help patrol the dikes And if there is a breach in the dike we get called up in 10 or 15 minutes and quickly go out there and try to help fill it in"

The Minnesota troops brought a lot of equipment with them, more than 150 types of vehicles and eight helicopters

At a briefing Monday at the Moorhead Armory, guard leaders on the ground in northwestern Minnesota told top brass fresh from a helicopter flight from St Paul the effort is going well

Captain Tim Sevcik of Zimmerman went through a county-by-county update

"Really no major issues that we're tracking right now," he said, "especially with the water levels starting to go down here"

Closely listening was the Minnesota Guard's Chief of Staff Col Wayne Hayes

Hayes is in charge of Minnesota guard personnel Until Monday's visit, Hayes had been keeping up with flood developments from an emergency operations center in St Paul

"Things are going very well," he said

Hayes said the guard will have a major presence in the flood zone until the river recedes

"We need to get the river back down to the normal permanent dike stage," he said "Because the dikes in this kind of weather where you got cold, warm, cold warm and then the lapping of the water against them, you can erode a dike pretty quick"

The Black Hawk Helicoptor that brought Hayes and the other officials to Moorhead did not sit idle during their update meeting Despite deteriorating weather it was quickly back in the air helping a local official check in on some bridges, roads and ice jams The guard leaders ended up cutting their stay short as flying conditions worsened

The guard says it's anxious to get back up in the air as soon as the weather breaks The bird's-eye view from their helicopters gives them valuable insight as to where they're needed on the ground

Mark Zdechlik "ยข Minnesota Public Radio

To see video, photos, and listen to a podcast, visit mprorg
Visit the Minnesota National Guard's Flood Fight 2009 page to stay current on the Guard's efforts in the fight.

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.

Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Article archive