Final Flood Fight Support from 133rd AW

  • Published
  • By Public Affairs Office
  • 133rd Airlfit Wing
As floodwaters in northwestern Minnesota recede, so has the support required from the Minnesota National Guard in the spring of 2009. The 133rd Airlift Wing eventually called up about twenty Airmen from a variety of specialties.

The Fargo-Moorhead area has seen its share of flooding in the past; many of its residents know the routine of sandbagging and constructing dikes to fight the rising Red River of the North.

This years flood has been especially challenging; however, as the water reached record levels, surpassing the 1997 crest of 39.57 feet and the 40.1 feet recorded in 1897. Once again, members of the 133rd Airlift Wing were called on to "Fight the Flood" with a diverse group of talents taken from throughout the Wing.

Three members came from the 133rd Security Forces Squadron to relieve members of Homeland Security by providing security needs at the St. Paul Emergency Operations Center.

Three members of the 133rd Communications Flight and three from the 109th Aeromedical Squadron operated the Joint Communications Platform trailer. This self-contained trailer has satellite, telephone, radio, data, and wireless capabilities, allowing officials to lead flood-fighting even when the area suffers power outages.

"We're here for the 2009 flood fight in an effort to bridge all these civil authorities together so they can talk to each other via radio," said Chief Master Sgt. Matt Cron, 133rd Communications Flight.

Chief Master Sgt. Cron operated the self-contained communications trailer.

"We also have internet access so if people need to have access to the internet, if people in the area lose that access and they need it, we can provide that for them," said Chief Master Sgt. Cron. "We also have two 60 kilowatt generators on board, so we can provide power not just to the trailer here but also with people in the area that need power. We have two trailers; the second one is with the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. which right now is in Crookston, Minn."

"We're here supporting civilian authorities," said Airman First Class Sanel Velic, 133rd Communications Flight, "We have a few different technologies that we can use in the trailer, we can link up the civilian authorities; we can set them up with internet, radio communications, and also satellite communications."

"We're here supporting civilian authorities. The JCP-1 (Joint Communications Platform) is capable of providing network, radio operability, and video teleconferencing, said Airman First Class Velic.

I think that what we're doing here is very important.... The trailer is very important, the technology that we use is very important; it allows the communication where communication is basically nonexistent. And also... when it comes to radio, communication is very important because it can link different channels, different technologies together, that way whoever needs to communicate they can actually communicate without being limited from the technologies that they're using from their standpoint."

From the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, Base Fire Chief, Master Sergeant Mark Legvold and Technical Sgt. Daniel Lawton worked in the State Emergency Operation Center providing coordination of the military personal and equipment.

Master Sgt. Legvold observed the Emergency Management Assistance Compact agreement between the two governors to share state assets and personal. This agreement between North Dakota and Minnesota allowed two Minnesota National Guard Blackhawk helicopters to provide recon and emergency rescue/evacuations.

Capt. Jason Hull, 133rd Mission Support Flight also worked in the State Emergency Operations Center in St. Paul.

Four members of the 133rd Public Affairs office provided support and documentation of the Minnesota Guard's Flood Fight effort.

Two members of the 133rd Logistics Readiness Squadron drove overnight to bring up three 60 kilowatt generators to alleviate potential power outages in the Moorhead area.

Leading the 133rd Airlift Wing's involvement in the Flood Fight was Maj. Michael Donat 133rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The airlift wing's C-130H "Hercules" military cargo aircraft are also available if called on by state authorities to provide whatever is needed to assist citizens facing record high floodwaters.

The 133rd's efforts are just part of the Minnesota National Guard's work with local authorities to assist in flood-fighting along the Red River Valley.

More than 300 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers from the Moorhead-based 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry have been activated to support flood fighting activities. The National Guard also has Black Hawk helicopters, forklifts and more than 100 vehicles in the area.