HomeNewsArticle Display

North Dakota Air National Guard Assists Flood Fight

North Dakota National Guardsmen work on flood duty to combat the rising Red River in Fargo, North Dakota.  Over 3,000 soldiers and airmen from North Dakota and surrounding states work together to keep the state safe.

North Dakota National Guardsmen work on flood duty to combat the rising Red River in Fargo, North Dakota. Over 3,000 soldiers and airmen from North Dakota and surrounding states work together to keep the state safe.

Fargo, N.D. -- Since March 19th, the Happy Hooligans of the North Dakota Air National Guard made major contributions to the flood fight as Airmen raised their hand to volunteer for flood duty in the Red River Valley.

"Despite our already high operations tempo in ongoing combat deployments and our numerous missions taking place 24/7 -- which include air base and missile field security, airfield fire and crash rescue and flying the predator unmanned aerial system -- the Happy Hooligans are playing a significant role in the ongoing flood-fighting mission," said Col. Robert Becklund, 119th Wing commander.

"Including all personnel performing our military missions, on deployments and the Airmen involved in the flood fight, nearly 100 percent of our personnel have been involved full-time in either state or federal duty these past couple of weeks. This is a notable achievement and reflects upon our strong Midwest work ethic and our ability to be there for the state when called upon by the Governor while also helping to maintain security around the world," said Becklund.

Airmen of the 119th Wing were assigned duties ranging from levee patrol, traffic control points, filling and placing sandbags, driving skid-steer loaders, operating heavy equipment and manning quick reaction force positions. In addition, to the activities happening all over the region, many Airmen were tasked with duties to support flood operations at the 119th Wing or at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, located just a few miles north of the base.

"We had Airmen who participated in the receipt, storage and issue of flood fighting supplies and equipment staged at the 119th Wing. These items were stockpiled for distribution and use by various agencies and volunteers in the Fargo-Moorhead area," said Capt. Brad Jernberg, 119th Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) Operations Officer.

Supplies and equipment staged at the 119th Wing included empty sandbags, pallets of filled sandbags, pumps, HESCO barriers, Humvees and a variety of other heavy equipment assets.

"Airmen from our squadron provided a large amount of essential equipment and supplies needed to support the operation. From the moment this kicked off we were supporting the Guardsmen fighting the flood by providing critical items such as gloves, boots, protective equipment and cold weather gear to those who needed it," Jernberg said.

C-21 aircraft from the 119th Wing as well as helicopters from the North Dakota Army National Guard, Coast Guard and National Guard units from surrounding states assisted in the flood fight by launching, surveying, recovering and refueling at the 119th Wing.

The 119th Wing Communications Flight supplied radios and cell phones to military members in the field and helped provide direct video feeds from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B Unmanned Aerial System that patrolled the Red River Valley monitoring ice jams.

Medical personnel of the 119th Wing reviewed immunization records and provided required shots to Airmen and Soldiers.

"It was our primary responsibility to see military members for sick call and assist with minor care injuries and ailments. If it was something serious they were referred to a local health care facility for treatment," said Master Sgt. Chris Andvik, 119th Wing Medical Group.

"Even with the type of duty and extended hours that everyone was working, we had very few injuries. This is a clear indication of our medical readiness and the fact that everyone looked out for each other while performing their duties" Andvik said.

In addition, the dining facility at the 119th Wing was open 24 hours a day to feed Soldiers and Airmen. The operations began on April 28th and ended on Friday. Military members from all over North Dakota and surrounding states suddenly found a new home at the 119th Wing.

"Like other volunteers in the area, military members were working long hours, and it's hard work. A number of them had flood issues of their own at home, but they were still here providing a critical component, keeping everyone fed and doing what they can to help out our state. The least we could do was make sure they had a hot meal when they needed it," said Tech. Sgt. David Mehus, 119th Wing Services Flight.

While some of the North Dakota Air National Guard members have been released from duty as the Fargo flood waters recede, many continue to assist government agencies fighting the Red River floodwaters as the region prepares for another crest and continues to respond to flooding in the northern area of the state.

Currently, about 1,000 Airmen and Soldiers remain on flood duty in North Dakota. Equipment is staged at locations across the state to facilitate a rapid response to flood emergencies, and the Guard anticipates activating additional forces in preparation for the second crest in many areas.

For more information regarding this news release, please contact Capt. Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing Public Affairs Officer, at 701-451-2194.

To see high resolution pictures and b-roll of N.D. National Guard Airmen and Soldiers participating in the flood fight, please see our FTP site:

FTP Server: ftp://ftp.state.nd.us
Password: PIO2493 (case sensitive)

To see previous news releases and flood footage, check out the following Web sites:

www.119wg.ang.af.mil
www.ndguard.com
www.twitter.com/ndnationalguard
www.youtube.com/ndnationalguard
www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard


###
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.