PALERMO When Mountrail County road crews needed help keeping a main county road passable because of all the snowfall as well as the wind constantly filling in the roadway with snow, the North Dakota National Guard answered the call.
Soldiers with the N.D. National Guard Snow Operations have been working for the past several days on problem areas on 74th Avenue Northwest a county road stretch between south of Palermo and near Parshall.
The Snow Operations team was scheduled to finish the work Thursday and move today to 51st Street in Mountrail County where they will clear two miles of road, said 1st Lt. Dan Murphy, public information officer with the N.D. National Guard in Bismarck.
Submitted Photo --
Sgt. Christopher Clemens, of the 818th company in Williston, is one of 17 North Dakota National Guard soldiers who volunteered to help with the snow operations. Here he moves snow on a Mountrail County road between south of Palermo and near Parshall, shown in this North Dakota National Guard photo.
Submitted Photo --
This is an aerial view of North Dakota National Guard bulldozers working on a Mountrail County road between south of Palermo and near Parshall. The photo was taken Jan. 23 during a flyover by a N.D. National Guard Blackhawk helicopter.
"The Guard is used after local contractors are unable to respond to the need," Murphy said.
Seventeen Guard soldiers 15 men and two women are with Snow Operations, with Capt. Ann Mutzenberger, the officer in charge, and 1st. Sgt. Steven Hanson, the senior enlisted soldier in charge. Eight soldiers are from the 816th Horizontal Company in Dickinson, seven soldiers from the 164th Engineer Battalion in Minot and two from the 818th Sapper Company in Williston.
Spc. Brandon Enander and Spc. Andrew Brockman, both with Snow Operations, said all of the soldiers volunteered for the work.
Many of the soldiers have civilian jobs. "Employers have been extremely supportive of this," Enander said.
The bulldozers, trucks and trailers were brought in for the work from National Guard's Camp Grafton near Devils Lake, Jamestown, Williston and Minot, Enander said.
"What Scott (Stammen, Mountrail County road supervisor) had for us was that main route that goes from Palermo to Parshall," Enander said. "It's a main route for a lot of rural traffic and oil-field traffic as well."
"The snow was up to 12 feet high in areas and it was more like driving through a tunnel when we first got out there," he said.
Enander said an oil-field company has let them use its lot to stage their equipment.
Local people have been providing food for the soldiers, Enander said. "The guys have had enchiladas, lasagna, chili...," he said.
The soldiers said when people drive by on the road they always smile and wave at them, obviously happy the Guard soldiers are there to help.
As of Thursday, Stammen told Guard officials that the snow operations team was ahead of schedule.