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Minnesota National Guard
TOC keeps flood fighters functional

Moorhead, Minn " The first thing anyone sees when he or she walks in the door of the Bearcat tactical operations center is a mission statement: "(The 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry) provides support to civil authorities by coordinating forces and resources within MN in support of spring flooding on Red River Valley (Area of Operations) in order to protect life, property and provide security"

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This opening manifesto serves as a clear reminder of the mission of the TOC, which serves as the epicenter of the Minnesota National Guard's response during Flood Watch 2010

"If anybody comes in here, we can give them a snapshot of what's going on," said Master Sgt James Bakkila, a native of Perham, Minn, and enlisted leader of the TOC

Inside the tactical operations center, or TOC, every aspect of the flood fighting operation is tracked and noted for the battalion commander

"All information comes through here on its way through," said 1st Lt John Shand, battalion engineer of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Combat Aviation

The TOC tracks and analyzes data on stability and support operations like route reconnaissance, traffic control points and air support This data can be displayed on one of the many screens and white boards within the TOC

Although flood fighting is a traditional role for the Minnesota National Guard, the Guard is not in charge Instead, Guardsmen assist civil authorities responsible for the state's emergency management plan

So whenever local authorities ask for aid, the TOC works through a liaison to get the local authorities the resources and support they need This may include dike patrols, sandbag crews and quick reaction teams to respond to citizen evacuations and dike breaches

"They tell us what they want," said Shand, a native of Lakeville, Minn, "and we analyze it and supply them what they need"

Written By Spc J Princeville Lawrence
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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