BISMARCK, N.D. — As Minot, N.D., faces mandatory evacuations and eyes are focused on the situation in Williston, N.D., the North Dakota National Guard activated additional personnel to the affected areas. This morning, nearly 100 Guardsmen were working in Minot. By this afternoon, that number had increased to 300 with more expected by Wednesday.
The Guard has been patrolling 21 miles of levees between Minot and Burlington around the clock since May 23. On Sunday, quick reaction force teams were added to the mix, as well as North Dakota National Guard high-wheeled vehicles, with Soldiers and Airmen standing by to respond as needed to any potential leaks or breaches.
South of Minot, Guardsmen continued to help at sandbag sites in Mandan and Bismarck, N.D., today, and portions of the effort there began to shift to haul missions and sandbag dike construction. Guardsmen continued to staff more than a dozen traffic control points throughout the city, as well, ensuring traffic moves as smoothly as possible
At Mandan’s waste water treatment plant off of 40th Avenue Southeast, a team of about 75 Guardsmen from a handful of units fought against 40-mph winds to construct a sandbag dike around the area. Thousands of sandbags have been placed since the mission began yesterday afternoon. Soldiers were using their bodies to secure plastic sheeting over the dike until additional sandbags could secure the plastic against the wind gusts that were reaching 60 mph.
Sgt. 1st Class Geoffrey Hoselton, of Fargo, N.D., the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the project, said that it was hard work but with all of the Guardsmen working so well together the project was gong quickly.
Over by Bismarck’s Raymond J. Bohn Armory, Soldiers with the 957th Engineer Company spent the morning offloading pallets of sandbags from civilian semi-trucks, loading them onto military trucks and then delivering the bags to distribution points throughout the area. One point, in front of Bismarck’s Prairie Rose Elementary School, saw a steady stream of vehicles pulling up as Soldiers with Company A of the 231st Brigade Support Battalion hefted sandbags into trucks and trailers for them.
About 2,000 North Dakota National Guardsmen are serving on flood duty, and the mission is expected to continue for some time as residents prepare for a sharper rise of the Missouri River in the central part of the state and brace for flooding in the Souris River Basin in the north-central part of the state.
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. Navigate to the photo set titled “May 31 Flood Operations” — www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard/sets/72157626729986321/.
Videos: Videos from today’s North Dakota National Guard missions can be viewed on YouTube: