North Dakota National Guard Reacts to Flood
The North Dakota National Guard’s Dickinson based 816th Horizontal Engineer Battalion has been acting as a 24-hour-a-day Quick Reactionary Force for rapid response to any levee leaks or breaches in the Minot and Burlington area.
Having a QRF available is an essential part of leading a successful flood fight. QRFs are accountable for responding in the event of a levee incident such as seepage or erosion. They have also been assisting the city and the Corps of Engineers in raising the levees as necessary to compensate for rising waters.
“The Quick Reaction Force exists to respond to any recognized problems with the levees,” said Master Sgt. Barry Trottier, a member of the 164th Engineer Battalion who works in the operations center. “Right now, the Souris River is at an increased flow rate, and it is lasting for an extended period.”
The 816th have been part of many missions since they began flood duty in Minot, to include a 36-hour operation behind the Dakota Rose Bed and Breakfast when they worked to raise and repair the levee.
“If they hadn’t raised that up, the water could have flooded into the city,” said Trottier.
They also assembled 1,500 feet of HESCO barriers in Burlington after the Corps of Engineers determined that the 6,000 sandbags they had laid the previous day would not be ample to compensate for the rising waters.
Most recently the 816th has been working with the city and the Corps to raise the levees throughout the area. The combined effort is to ensure that the levees are at an appropriate level to handle the increased flow rate.
Soldiers have mobilized on several missions to apply plastic to the levees to make them less susceptible to erosion from rain or swift currents.
“QRF is important, so if there are any issues, we’re ready,” said Spc. Brandon Stewart of the 816th Horizontal Engineer Battalion. “First thing every morning, we check our equipment so we’re ready to go.”
Stewart said that a lot of what he has been doing has involved preventative maintenance such as repairing and raising levees and sandbagging around trouble areas.
“We’re trying to make sure everything is up to standard,” said Stewart.
Stewart, who is from Fargo, finished with advanced individual training in April so this is his first flood fight. “At the time, it’s hard work, and it’s stressful being away from home,” said Stewart. “But there is a lot of job satisfaction and people are very thankful when we help rescue their homes.”
Thus far in the Ward County area, the QRF has responded to about five events that required immediate response, which addressed issues that require immediate assistance. In the last 96 hours they have assisted in 8 planned missions that assisted the city and Corps to raise levels and apply poly.
“The National Guard will be here until the city and Corps is comfortable with the flow rate in Minot,” said Trottier.
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This entry was posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at 7:59 am and is filed under Disasters, Military. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.