By Maj. Brendan Murphy
South Dakota National Guard
RAPID CITY, S.D., (3/26/09) – After several days of clearing roads following an early spring blizzard, the South Dakota Army National Guard began preparations today for possible assistance to flood operations being conducted in northeast South Dakota and eastern North Dakota.
Soldiers and equipment will be staged in the Aberdeen, S.D., area and equipment will be delivered to Fargo, N.D., to help in flood recovery operations should the need arise due to cresting flood waters from local rivers and creeks caused by this week’s spring storm.
Personnel and equipment from units of the 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery, including Alpha Battery of Aberdeen, Headquarters-Headquarters Battery of Watertown, S.D., the Forward Support Company of Webster, S.D., and Task Force 153 consisting of units from Pierre, S.D., and Chamberlain, S.D., have been called upon to assist the flooding operations.
They will be staged for sandbagging operations in Columbia, S.D., along the Moccasin Creek near Aberdeen, to help protect power transformers. This includes 18 Soldiers along with three Humvees, 11 heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks (with fuel, wrecker and cargo transport capabilities), four bridge boat transporter trucks and two 15-man inflatable boats with outboard motors.
Five five-ton dump trucks from the 842nd Engineer Company, of Spearfish, S.D., will be transported to Fargo to assist the North Dakota National Guard in recovery operations along the Red River.
The 147th Task Force will direct National Guard personnel and equipment assets in the state for this operation and work with the SDNG’s Joint Operation Center and the state’s Office of Emergency Management to coordinate and facilitate all requests for flood support.
Earlier this week, the South Dakota Guard provided six Soldiers and two snow blowers to clear drifted snow from underpasses and service roads along Interstate 90 from Sturgis, S.D., to the Wyoming border.
The remaining four Soldiers on the TF 109 snow blower crew returned to Rapid City today, turned in their vehicles and equipment and have been released from duty.