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Minnesota National Guard
The Defense of Oslo

The deafening sound of the tornado siren blared out a warning, April 14, 2011, at 1:45 pm  The citizens of Oslo, Minn gathered at their community center and the defense of Oslo commenced   

April 11-15 was Severe Weather Awareness Week and to recognize the event the local citizens of Oslo, Minn enacted their emergency preparedness plan  Under the direction of the Mayor of Oslo, the locals believed there was no better week to test the city's defenses against natural disaster

The timing for the exercise couldn't have been better considering that Oslo is now completely surrounded by water due to the overland flooding of the swollen Red River   Although the local people are safe and dry due to an enormous earthen levee that completely surrounds the city of Oslo, roads leading in and out of the city are impassable 

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To assist the citizens of Oslo, the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, Task Force River Valley was called into action  "Soldiers from the 2-136 have been stationed in Oslo, Minnesota to provide assistance to local authorities and to patrol the levee system that surrounds Oslo," said Staff Sgt John Cervantes

"My guys have been up here ever since the water started flowing over the road a few days ago," said Cervantes  "They are excited about the mission and are eager to help"   

Staffed with high water vehicles, Soldiers from Task Force Red River Valley have been ferrying personnel and materials into the city for the past three days  The Guard is on point 24/7 in order to provide protection, security, and emergency response in the event that the levee is compromised or damaged 

"The rehearsal exercise was a success in the eyes of the local city planners and emergency personnel," said Maj Bryce Erickson, Operations Officer for the 2-136, and an observer of the rehearsal

"The planning and execution for this operation was fantastic " I wish more cities would do this kind of training," said Erickson 

Story by Maj John Donovan
Public Affairs Office, Minnesota National Guard
April 14, 2011

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