The 3662nd Maintenance Company has been on duty for the flood for several weeks now and during the past few weeks we have been in Fargo, Valley City and Jamestown. On Friday, April 17, my unit was sent to LaMoure, N.D., which is just a small jaunt down Highway 1 from Jamestown going south. Upon arriving in the town, we met with the leadership from the 2-135th Infantry Company of the Minnesota Army National Guard.
I went on mission reconnaissance with one of our new lieutenants who would be taking over the mission. We were accompanied by two bright, energetic, young lieutenants from the 2-135th Infantry Company. We were shown the two stretches of levees on the west and south sides of LaMoure. The water had gone down a bit, but our escorts were full of stories about the culvert breaches and how high the water was just a day or two ago. There were a few traffic control points to monitor, so the mission did not seem that it would be very hard or long lasting. We made our way up to the spillway on Lake LaMoure and the erosion on the side of the hill leading up to the lake was quite impressive; the water poured over the side of the hill literally eating the hill away as it came down in a waterfall.
During our recon trip, there seemed to be reoccurring stories about how great the people in LaMoure were to the Soldiers here. The lieutenants from the 2-135th mentioned the hometown folks at the flood operations center, the food runs, and the overwhelming generosity of the town. The lieutenants seemed to know everyone in town already, and it was all on a first-name basis. There was Brian who was sent from the Corps of Engineers; it was said he was so smart, he could tell what the soil properties were for a given area from 10 miles away by being downwind. There is Dan; the guy from the city of LaMoure that seemed to be in charge of all the city issues and he was available 24 hours a day and had an answer for everything. They did not know what Dan did for the city, but there was a rumor that he was a state judge.
When we started moving our Soldiers into the school gymnasium and our operations center into the local American Legion building, it was apparent that the lieutenants from the 2-135th were not overstating how friendly the citizens of LaMoure were. Every day we roll out with our trucks and all the townsfolk of LaMoure that are walking or driving by give us a wide smile and a wave in greeting.
The citizens wanted so much to help that they set up a 24-hour flood operations center that would make any bakery in the world look sparse. Without being prompted, the citizens run a truck out to our Soldiers at their remote locations and bring with them snacks and coffee. Our Soldiers cannot go into any building in town without a word of thanks and a bit of inquiry about how the spillway on the lake is holding out. We stop by the gas station in town for a cup of coffee and then get a free travel mug. The neighbor next to the American Legion grilled up all the steaks he had in the freezer, cut them up into snack size pieces and brought them in for our Soldiers. The list of acts of kindness toward our Soldiers goes on and on.
If community spirit has left many cities and towns due to the fast pace of the electronic age or the hardships of the nation’s financial crisis, it has not left LaMoure. The town reminds me of a real-life Mayberry from the Andy Griffith television show, where you sit back on your couch and cringe at how no town could be so neighborly or so friendly. North Dakotans like to talk about how nice the people are compared to the rest of the country, and if that is true, then LaMoure is at the pinnacle of North Dakota.
I know that the people in LaMoure have thanked our Soldiers many, many times for coming to their town to assist them. On behalf of all the Soldiers that have served on duty in LaMoure for the last few weeks we would like to offer our appreciation. Our Soldiers have spent many days away from their families and as each day passes without knowing when they might be able to return home, the hardship increases. Thank you, LaMoure, for making this mission easier on us, by taking us into your community and making us feel welcome.
We look at what drives people from all over the world to want to come to American shores, despite a wavering economy, a world view of our politicians that is diminishing, and some that think we are turning imperialistic. I believe that it is the spirit of the American people that is undeterred that brings them here. It is towns like LaMoure that do not just live the American dream, but create it, through hard work and values that are heartwarming.
In New York City, Lady Liberty beckons to those seeking to improve their way of life. There is that extra glimmer that comes off that torch, the one that makes the American dream just a bit more special. It is there because of towns like LaMoure.
Story by Bryce A. Crosby
Table of contents for North Dakota Flooding 2009
- North Dakota Guard in Flood Fight
- 800 Guardsmen to Fight Flood in E North Dakota
- North Dakota Guard Joins Flood Relief
- Coast Guard Aids in North Dakota Flooding
- ND Guard Uses Iraqi War Skills to Fight Flood
- Sandbagging to Save Fargo
- Guard Working in Midwest Floods
- Current North Dakota Flood News
- Rescuing Rose – ND Guard Good News
- Morning News for Fargo Flooding
- Coast Guard Rescues in North Dakota
- Military Assistance to North Dakota Flooding
- Civil Air Patrol in Skies Over ND Flooding
- North Dakota Flood Operations Continues
- National Guard Defends Pembina From Flood
- Sheyenne River Nearing Crest in North Dakota
- HESCO Barriers – a Photo Primer
- Video of Coast Guard Flood Rescue Near Kindred
- Reinforcing the Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure
- Fighting the Flood in Southeast North Dakota
- Guardsmen Returning to Hometowns for Duty
- North Dakota Guard in Action During Flooding
- North Dakota Flooding Update: Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure
- A View From a Soldier Serving in LaMoure