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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard Soldiers Thanked for Flood Assistance

"From the ground and in the air, Minnesota Guardsmen worked hard supporting our citizens and communities"

Watch video of the ceremony on YouTube

April 25, 2009

JAMESTOWN, ND - Folks in the Midwest take pride in having a solid work ethic and helping their neighbors in times of need

These qualities were clearly demonstrated by the actions of the West St Paul, Minn,-based A Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment and the 850th Horizontal Engineer Company, out of Cambridge, Minn, during their recent mobilization in support of flood relief efforts in North Dakota

Ceremonies honoring 146 Soldiers from A Company/2-135 IN, and 113 Soldiers from the 850th HEC were conducted in Jamestown and Fargo, respectively, on April 23, the evening before they left for home

Brig Gen William Seekins, land component commander for the North Dakota National Guard, and Command Sgt Major Daniel Job, command sergeant major for the Joint Force Headquarters of the North Dakota National Guard, were present to honor the Minnesota Soldiers

"For you to be there in our time of need, I can't tell you how much it means to the citizens of North Dakota," Seekins told the Minnesota Soldiers "The willingness to help, rolling up your sleeves to assist your neighbors; well, that's what the National Guard is all about"

The North Dakota National Guard leadership presented coins to several Soldiers from both units in special recognition of their service to the state of North Dakota

"The leadership demonstrated by the professional non-commissioned officers in these units was simply outstanding," remarked Job "Soldiers remained highly motivated throughout their deployment and their hard work and efforts were greatly appreciated by all the North Dakotans they assisted"

The 2-135 IN Soldiers under the leadership of Capt Ryan Cochran and 1st Sgt Chris Stoner began their assistance missions the day after arriving in North Dakota by traveling in helicopters to the Grand Rapids area of LaMoure County on April 14 They immediately went to work reinforcing dikes with sandbagging efforts and were extremely instrumental in assisting with Chinook and Black Hawk helicopter placements of one-ton sandbags in response to emergency flood protection measures

Later, the infantry Soldiers moved to Jamestown, where they performed various flood fighting missions which included dike patrol, assisting with sandbagging as well as door-to-door welfare checks of residents

The 850th HEC also stood watch in North Dakota communities with grateful neighbors in numerous flooded areas, helping prepare and if needed, rescue citizens stranded by rising flood waters

"We provided evacuation and QRF [Quick Reaction Force] teams in and around Fargo," said Capt Brenda L Ruth, company commander for the 850th HEC

However, the unit was willing to help out whenever and wherever needed The engineer unit also provided invaluable assistance to various flood fighting missions in LaMoure, Stutsman, and Cass Counties

"The Cass County sheriff was our ultimate authority," said 1st Lt Jon M Dahl, officer in charge during the unit's night shift "Anything we could do to help; we were more than ready and willing to assist in any flood mission requested"

In natural disasters confusion can be a common hurdle to overcome The 850th leadership kept a positive attitude and fulfilled their missions in the flood fight often with advice to civil authorities on how to best to utilize their Soldiers and equipment

"Flexibility was the key," added 2nd Lt Curt J Fernandez, the officer in charge during the dayshift

The Soldiers and their equipment returned to Minnesota on April 24, and the ceremonies in their honor let them know how much their efforts were appreciated

"I knew they were doing well, but when you hear it from everyone else, it really sinks in," Ruth added

On April 13, more than 300 Minnesota National Guardsmen were mobilized and sent to North Dakota to provide additional support for flood fighting efforts in response to a request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact The EMAC is an agreement between states whose purpose is to provide a mechanism for requesting and receiving emergency assistance from other member states quickly and efficiently This is the first time that the Minnesota National Guard has deployed to North Dakota under this mutual aid compact

In addition to the engineers and infantry units, the Minnesota National Guard also sent three Chinooks (2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment) and seven Black Hawk helicopters (147th Assault Helicopter Battalion) complete with flight crews to help with the flood fight Additionally, Montana, Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa also sent Guardsmen, helicopters, aviation maintenance teams and other equipment to assist in the flood fighting operations

"We are impressed with the Minnesota National Guard's professionalism and appreciative of their assistance to our communities in the fight against rising flood waters," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk (sprin-suh-NAT'-ick), adjutant general for the North Dakota National Guard "From the ground and in the air, Minnesota Guardsmen worked hard supporting our citizens and communities threatened by historic flooding It's good to know that we have great neighbors in Minnesota and other states that responded with valuable and timely assistance in support of our flood fighting operations"

Since the terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 2,800 Soldiers and more than 1,600 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism In recent weeks, nearly 2,000 North Dakota National Guardsmen - with support of about 400 additional Soldiers and Airmen from six other states - have been mobilized for current flood fighting missions all across North Dakota With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, we continue to have sufficient forces available to provide emergency response and homeland defense

by Spc Joshua Dodds "¢ 116th Public Affairs Detachment, North Dakota National Guard, and
Senior Master Sgt Ralph Kapustka "¢ 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard

Read more at dvidshubnet Watch video of the ceremony on YouTube
April 25, 2009: Minnesota Guard Soldiers Thanked For Flood Assistance - Low-Res

Follow the Minnesota National Guard's efforts in the fight at Flood Fight 2009.

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