By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (5/5/10) – Almost 300 Tennessee National Guard members continue to assist civilian emergency responders in Nashville today after nearly 20 inches of rain drenched the state over the weekend.
Gov. Phil Bredesen called out the Guard as the resulting flash floods and rising river waters stranded residents in their homes, flooded roadways, cut power and damaged property and infrastructure. It also caused a reported 10 fatalities in Nashville, and eight more around the state, said state officials.
Randy Harris, a spokesman for the Tennessee Guard, said the rapidly rising flood waters cut off assistance for some residents.
"The 1176th Transportation Company assisted in about 230 rescues," he said.
Today, the Tennessee Army Guard delivered water to their armory in Centerville and to stranded residents in Cheatham County. Twelve Soldiers from the 212th Engineer Company with three, five-ton dump trucks and Humvees also removed flood debris in Weakley County.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) reported that Guard Soldiers worked side-by-side with the Ashland City Fire Department to airlift food and water to stranded citizens in Cheatham County.
"The 1-230 Air Cavalry Squadron aircrew, along with volunteers and Ashland City Assistant Fire Chief Brian Biggs, loaded two truckloads of water onto the aircraft and then flew it to people in need," reported TEMA officials.
TEMA also reported that the Army Guard aviators "landed in fields, front yards, and even the driveway leading to the Christian Care Center of Cheatham County."
“It’s my first mission since being back from Iraq this past year,” said Army Sgt. Caleb Bucy, a helicopter crew chief. “I’m proud to get out and help Tennesseans any way I can.”
Flood warnings from the National Weather Service remained in effect today in the central and western parts of the state. They also reported only a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms for the next nine days.
Harris said that the Guard might see continued cleanup missions, as the water levels drop.
"Flooding is sort of new to us, but they have done an excellent job," he said.