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Homeland Security

Minot Airmen aid community affected by flood

by Staff Sgt. Keith Ballard
5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/22/2011 - MINOT, N.D. (AFNS) -- For the second time in a month, city officials have ordered citizens of Minot, N.D., including more than 950 Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen and their families, to evacuate downtown homes here.

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman, said water levels are expected to reach the highest volumes ever in Minot's recorded history.

Airmen from Minot Air Force Base are supporting city efforts to minimize the damage from the flood, which is not expected to impact the base directly or its nuclear deterrence and global strike mission.

"Our Airmen remain resilient and have the incredible ability to deploy anytime and anywhere to respond quickly to any situation around the world," said Col. James Dawkins Jr., the 5th Bomb Wing commander. "We feel it's important to use this capability to aid our communities in this emergency and time of need."

North Dakota Guardsmen, the Army Corps of Engineers and city engineers are working with Airmen from Minot AFB to limit the impact of the flood on the downtown area. The city of Minot Emergency Operations Center's main priority is to protect as much of the infrastructure as possible and preserve the main north-south route through the city, officials said.

Airmen involved in sandbagging efforts have been working around the clock to build as many bags as possible to provide city workers with additional resources. So far, more than 10,000 sandbags have been provided to Minot and surrounding communities.

The Airmen have assisted the community in relief efforts in some areas, minimizing expected flood damages.

Burlington, N.D., assistant fire chief Chris Schaefer said the support Minot AFB Airmen have provided has been excellent.

"We need all the personnel we can get for equipment and for filling sandbags," he said. "We support the military 100 percent, and we're glad to see they are coming out and supporting us."

Nearly 1,000 Airmen and their families are affected by the flooding, Colonel Dawkins said.

"We are dedicated to ensuring our Airmen are out of the flood zone and also assisting in flood preparations in the city and surrounding communities," he said.

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