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Homeland Security

Guard Helping Residents in Midwest Flooding

Mar 20, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Guard members transported evacuated residents, provided shelter, supplied drinking water and executed other missions in states affected by Midwest flooding on March 20, the first day of spring.

More than 12 people died in the aftermath of storms that dumped up to a foot of rain on the Midwest, flooding roads, homes and businesses, the Associated Press reported.

President Bush declared a major disaster in Missouri on Wednesday. As part of the National Guard’s support of civilian authorities tackling the aftermath of the Midwest floods, Citizen-Soldiers from the Missouri National Guard’s 70th Troop Command were assisting with flood recovery efforts in the communities of Marble Hill and Piedmont.

“We have been moving families,” said Capt. Tammy Spicer, a Missouri Guard spokesperson. “We will remain on duty as long as local communities and the governor need us.”

In Arkansas, the National Guard’s Camp Robinson Institute Support Unit provided a 5,000-gallon tanker of fresh water to the community of Leslie after one of its main water lines collapsed, according to Capt. Chris Heathscott.

Soldiers from the Arkansas Guard’s 142nd Fires Brigade and the 217th Brigade Support Battalion opened the armory in Berryville for emergency shelter for up to 100 residents displaced by flooding, Heathscott said. The Arkansas National Guard provided 100 cots and blankets for the residents.

In Indiana, Guardmembers fanned out to the communities of Evansville and Jasper and to the state’s emergency operations center to support flood recovery operations.

Equipped with 5-ton trucks and sandbagging machines, the Soldiers and Airmen were expected to support search and rescue operations and provide sandbags as needed, the Indiana Guard’s public affairs office reported.

The National Guard is in about 3,200 communities in all 54 states and territories, and on any given day the Guard is supporting civilian authorities in multiple states at the request of their governors.

On the same day that the Midwest focused on flooding, Guardmembers in Texas continued to assist with the fight against wildfires. In New Mexico, they provided water to drought-stricken communities.

Meanwhile, Guardmembers continued to help the Border Patrol secure the U.S. border with Mexico in Operation Jump Start, support the nation’s air sovereignty mission in Operation Noble Eagle and perform counterdrug operations. Other domestic missions included critical infrastructure protection and continued support in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

(Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves with teh National Guard Bureau.)

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