HomeNewsArticle Display

09-060 Flood Feature: ‘Morale' Support on the Frontlines

FARGO, N.D. --

Chaplain (Maj.) Leo Moenkedick is a welcome sight for Soldiers and Airmen working the frontlines of the flood battle here.

Popularly known simply as "Father Leo," Moenkedick (Menk-a-dick) is a frequent visitor to the FargoDome, a central filling point for sandbags destined for the dike lines, to lend moral support to citizen-Soldiers and citizen-Airmen.

They are doing their part to help protect the city of Fargo from the rising Red River and a devastating flood. For his part, Father Leo brings them much-welcomed snacks, refreshments and a relaxed smile to ease the stress.

But even more than the goodies, Father Leo said he wants the Airmen and Soldiers to get something more substantial from his and other chaplains' visits.

"What we're looking for is signs of extreme stress, anger and obvious fatigue, these sorts of things," Moenkedick said. "Basically, we want to make sure that they are being well taken care of."

Food, water and rest - those are his primary concerns for the Soldiers and Airmen he meets, he said.

On Thursday, Moenkedick made his first trek out to Guard worksites along the river, where military personnel and civilians are bolstering emergency sandbag and earthen levees. He said it's a trip that he would like someone from the chaplains' corps to make every day.

"So far, they are doing really well," Moenkedick said. "The rest part of it all depends on who you talk to."

Moenkedick, a chaplain with the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Wing in Fargo, said he and his colleagues remind Guard leaders of the importance of proper rest for personnel. Guard leadership has taken that message to heart and has reiterated it, he said.

Moenkedick said that, with all of the Soldiers and Airmen from the North Dakota National Guard who've been deployed to combat zones in recent years, it is important to ensure their stresses aren't exacerbated by a flood fight.

He said soon there will be more chaplain teams set up in Fargo, so that a chaplain and an assistant can make rounds to all Guard worksites in the city at least once a day, while a team remains at headquarters for support there.

Moenkedick has been a chaplain with the 119th since 2000. He currently serves as a priest for churches in three Minnesota communities - Sobieski, Flensburg and Randall.

With so many civilians working alongside Guard personnel during the current flood battle, Moenkedick said it's not unlikely that he would find himself providing comfort, and maybe a snack, to a non-military member of the community.

"Our primary focus is on the military personnel, but we certainly want to take care of everyone out there," he said.
Since the terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 2,800 Soldiers and more than 1,600 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Nearly 1,400 National Guardsmen have been mobilized for current flood fighting missions all across North Dakota - another 1,600 Guardsmen remain available to provide support for state and national emergencies and homeland defense.


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.