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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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Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.



100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.



Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.



Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.



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