Military helps with flood relief efforts
March 27, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. — More than 1,100 North Dakota National Guardsmen have been mobilized to help combat the rising Red River.
Up to 3,000 guardsmen could be called upon to help with flood relief efforts if needed, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick L. Martin, deputy adjutant general of North Dakota National Guard.
More than 1,300 National Guardsmen have volunteered for duty and the rest are part of units that were involuntarily mobilized, National Guard spokesman 1st Lt. Dan Murphy said.
"The North Dakota National Guard is conducting a host of operations in a number of communities. Specifically, we’re looking at dyke patrols, sandbagging, distributing sandbags, breaking ice jams, providing security operations at traffic control points and rescuing stranded citizens cut off by rising floodwaters," Murphy said.
The National Guard has rescued at least 24 families and filled 1.8 million sandbags in Fargo, of which 1.5 million sandbags have been placed, Guard officials said Thursday.
In addition to the Guard, about 100 active-duty airmen from Grand Forks Air Force Base have volunteered to help with flood relief efforts, Tech. Sgt. Amanda Callahan, a spokeswoman for the 319th Air Refueling Wing, said.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Jungclaus, 20, spent five hours Tuesday filling sandbags in Fargo.
"I think it’s good to let people in the community know that we care, that they’re gonna be taken care of in their time of need," Jungclaus said Thursday.
He also said he is ready to go back again if needed.
"If they still need volunteers, time permitting, I’ll definitely be there," he said.
Jungclaus has a lot on his plate right now. He has a 20-month-old daughter and is working toward his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
Still, it is important to help others, even if it means the hours he gets to sleep are "few and far between," Jungclaus said.
"A good pot of coffee will do the trick."