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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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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



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