VELVA Not many people get to see the land they farm from above in a Black Hawk helicopter.
On Friday Sgt. Robert Duchsherer, who farms between Velva and Karlsruhe and also is in the North Dakota Army National Guard, was with several other soldiers in a Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for a reconnaissance flight to assess the flooding in McHenry County.
Duchsherer, who now lives in Minot and is originally from Velva, is with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Guard's 164th Engineer Battalion and part of Area of Operations-West.
Submitted Photo --
North Dakota National Guard soldiers made a reconnaissance flight of the flooding in McHenry County Friday, shown in this photo by Sgt. Jonathan Haugen. Sgt. Robert Duchsherer, who farms in the county, was among the group. The flooding has shut off many roads in the area and caused farmsteads to be cut off from the rest of the county.
From the Black Hawk, Duchsherer had the opportunity to view the family farm. "The farm itself is fine, it's just there's a lot of water in our area." he said.
He said the farmland has much water in the low spots. "It's all from (snow) melting," he said.
Duchsherer, who grew up in McHenry County, said that during the helicopter flight he saw the flooded farms of various people he knows in the Velva-Karlsruhe area.
"When we went on the flight, you'd see farms that were pretty much cut off completely out there. That was pretty much throughout the whole county."
He said there was water all the way around some of the farms.
Much of the water flooding the area is from the Souris River, which runs into North Dakota from Canada and then
returns north to Canada.
Sgt. Jonathan Haugen, with the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters in Bismarck who accompanied the group on the flight, said the soldiers on the survey mission Friday observed many problems with the record winter snowfall runoff. Roads were under water, washed out or simply gone. The railroad between Minot and Rugby was shut down because of the tracks not being safe due to the ground underneath being gone, Haugen said.
But through all this, Haugen said it has not stopped the "can do" attitude of the residents of McHenry County.
The Guard has helped on the ground in McHenry County. Duchsherer said that was last week when 10,000 sandbags were hauled to the City of Karlsruhe.
"When we flew over the town itself (the town) looked alright but the surrounding area looked pretty bad," he said. "You could see roads that were completely with water over them," he said.
Duchsherer said it was interesting for him to be able to fly over McHenry County "not only to see what it looks like but just knowing the area and seeing all this that is going on. It's just unbelievable."