Nonemergency storm-water issue is priority one for quick-reacting Soldiers Monday
FARGO, N.D. — In the grand scheme of the flood fight here, it probably wouldn’t rank up there with the greatest emergencies that Staff Sgt. Gene A. Anderson Jr. and his Soldiers respond to.
But when a storm-water drain backed up along Interstate 29 on Monday morning, sending a relatively small stream of runoff toward 40th Avenue North, his team of North Dakota National Guard quick reaction force Soldiers rushed to the location like they would a more serious scenario.
“They’re all really great Soldiers and they love to help as much as they can no matter what the job might be,” Anderson said. “I mean, they’d rather it be that our services were not needed, but when we are needed, they are prepared to respond quickly to anything — big or small.”
Anderson, whose QRF is staged at the Eagles Recycling Center in Fargo, said he got the call to respond about 10:10 a.m., and they were on the scene in less than 10 minutes with a dozen Soldiers, a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) and a Humvee.
The Soldiers, all members of the Headquarters of the 815th Engineer Company, based in Edgeley, N.D., quickly formed a sandbagging line, and created a three-tier-high ring dike around the backed-up storm water drain to slow the flow of water.
The Soldiers used about 6,500 sandbags that were supplied by city workers.
Jason Hoogland, a Fargo technical engineer, said the cause of the backed-up storm water was a combination of a faulty “flap gate” farther down the drainage system and increased pressure as a result of the nearby flooded Red River.
Hoogland said the drainage system in the area takes storm water off the interstate and eventually sends it to the river.
“There’s really not an emergency here, but even so, to have the Guard here really helps us take care of this back-up issue,” Hoogland said. “Once the water goes down and after it dries up a bit, we’ll have to fix it. That probably won’t happen until summer.”
Anderson, who lives in Mandan, N.D., said that his Soldiers recently were called out on a different mission to shore up defenses closer to the Red River after a temporary flood barrier rolled down an incline near the Fargo Country Club.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about a dozen North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
Photos: These and other high-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard. Navigate to the photo set titled “Storm-water Response – Flood 2011.”