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Minnesota National Guard
Flooding Leaves 6 Dead, 1 Missing

WINONA, Minn - At least six people died and one man is missing in southeastern Minnesota as storms dumped record-setting amounts of rain, forcing hundreds from their homes and washing out roads and bridges Two sets of Winona County couples stuck in the storm died as a result, Winona County Sheriff David Brand said A 67-year-old man and 66-year-old woman were on County Highway 23 when their car was whisked off the road An 80-year-old man and his 68-year-old wife traveling on County Highway 17 died as their vehicle plummeted 30 feet into water when the thoroughfare washed away under them Two people were killed in neighboring Houston County A vehicle believed to belong to a 37-year-old man was found at an Interstate 90 rest area near the Lewiston exit, but he is still missing The victims' names are expected to be released today as family members are notified, Brand said The evacuation and search efforts for the missing man will continue today, Brand said, as the threat of more rain looms "This is the worst disaster to hit southeast Minnesota in a lifetime," said state Sen Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona State rainfall records weren't just broken, they were swamped Some 156 inches of rain deluged Houston County by Sunday evening, the National Weather Service reported That's nearly 5 inches over the state's previous 24-hour rainfall record Other unofficial reports from southeastern Minnesota give even higher amounts of rainfall, with totals as high as 17 inches What's fueling the deluge, forecasters say, are the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin, which blew into Texas last week and have been pushing northward with heavy rain and warm air Although the storm itself was centered over the southern Plains on Sunday, it affected weather through the Mississippi River valley Six people were killed in flooding in Oklahoma "Those tropical systems, they're giant heat and moisture systems," said Matt Friedlein, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen Minnesota Gov Tim Pawlenty ordered 240 National Guard Soldiers to the area to help with flood relief and provide security Pawlenty declared a state of emergency in six counties - Winona, Wabasha, Fillmore, Houston, Steele and Olmsted That will allow the state to coordinate response efforts, including using the Army Corps of Engineers to deploy pumps and generators to avoid levee breeches along the Root and Mississippi rivers National Guard Soldiers helped with door-to-door searches and prepared to guard evacuated areas against looting overnight With more rain in the forecast, the Houston City Council ordered an evacuation of the town of 995 people Stockton, with 803 residents, was evacuated, as well, and evacuations also took place in Pickwick and Elba and parts of Winona, which sits on the Mississippi River Houston County Sheriff's dispatcher Dwayne Beckman said 14 roads and highways had been closed, bridges were washed out, and mudslides were reported countywide Houston County authorities were keeping a wary eye on the dike that protects that small city from the rising Root River According to Beckman, the river was at 19 feet "and the dike is good to 20 feet" The heavy rains started falling about 11 pm Saturday night, Winona County Administrator Bob Reinert said Flash flood warnings were issued, but many people didn't anticipate how fast the rising waters could move Low-lying areas were especially prone to flooding, Reinert added Initial rescue efforts took place in the dark as the water quickly rose City officials decided to turn off electricity in Stockton, one of the worst-hit communities, because propane tanks were floating around, Reinert said National Guard members used a Black Hawk helicopter for relief efforts as many people stood atop roofs waiting for rescuers The largest shelter in the area was set up at St Mary's University in Winona, where at least 300 people convened at one point Sunday morning At least 80 people were expected stay in the Red Cross-operated center, according to volunteers Smaller shelters also housed residents in Nodine and at St Charles High School, where about 90 people stayed early Sunday, Reinert said When Goodview resident Mike Snyder, 20, looked out of his garage apartment, he saw a couch riding the currents of brown, muddy floodwater "We knew it was raining, not flooding," said Snyder, who joined his family on a bulldozer that brought them to an evacuation bus Like Snyder and his family, Ryan Pete, 24, of Goodview, found shelter in a gymnasium at St Mary's Pete said he slept through the rain until firefighters knocked on his door as they evacuated the neighborhood Pete plans to stay with friends, but he escaped with only his cell phone, black basketball shorts and sweater He said authorities told him it will be at least two days before he can go home to retrieve more belongings MaryBeth Hasson, her husband and two children were headed back to Chicago on Interstate 90 after a family vacation in South Dakota They heard about the flash flood warnings, Hasson said, and booked a motel room in Minnesota City, a small town north of Winona But at about 5:30 am, they awoke to water rushing into their room and escaped through the window Rescuers on boats helped bring them to dry land The water's current was surprisingly strong, Hasson said Mimi Slater, 68, said she has never experienced a more damaging flood since she moved to the Stockton area nearly 30 years ago "The water washed away everything I mean everything," Slater said "My home, car, photos Basically my whole life" Tom Webb and the Associated Press contributed to this report
Bao Ong can be reached at bong@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5435
Article source: http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_6666234




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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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