6/25/2010 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- This week almost 300 National Guard members from four states are helping to prepare for future floods and recover from past flood damage.
Task Force Northwest is commanded by Air Force Col. Mike Pankau of the 139th Airlift Wing, based in St. Joseph, Mo.
"Soldiers and Airmen are conducting a variety of missions supporting civil authorities, including manning traffic control points and monitoring levees," said Army 2nd Lt. John Quin, a public affairs officer for the Missouri Guard. "Guardsmen are also serving as liaison officers with local emergency operations centers and civil authorities."
In South Dakota, 130 Soldiers from the 200th Engineer Company and the 153rd Engineer Battalion are helping to fill sandbags in Huron, Woonsocket and Bonilla.
The mission is to place about 20,000 sandbags in Woonsocket to channel water through the town.
Emergency management personnel will decide June 26 if additional sandbags are needed, Army Maj. Brendan Murphy, the public affairs officer for the South Dakota Guard. About 3,000 sandbags have been staged in Bonilla.
More than 30 Soldiers responded to the request of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's request for vehicle support to remove debris from the northwest counties of Mingo, Logan, Wyoming and McDowell.
Dams in the Dakotas are full and the Army Corps of Engineers plans to let out water to release pressure on them, which will increase the water flow in the Missouri River, guard officials said.
North Dakota Guard officials have a UH-60 Black Hawk and a 10-man crew on stand-by to respond to evacuate residents who can't use the roads in the Devils Lake area.
"The crew should be relieved today as Devils Lake (officials) take over the evacuation mission with a high-lifted ambulance," said Army Lt. Col. Rick Smith, the public affairs officer for the North Dakota National Guard.
Almost 100 guardsmembers cleaning up debris in West Virginia that residents found in their homes in Wyoming County, said Lt. Col. Mike Cadle, the public affairs officer for the West Virginia Guard.
About 55 counties in the state have been affected by rain and rapid snow melt since the spring.