FARGO - The first North Dakota National Guard members to assist in 2013 flood operations began duty Monday in Fargo, and those efforts increased Tuesday and again Wednesday.
Nearly 80 National Guard members are now serving on flood-related missions in Fargo. The soldiers are primarily managing traffic flow for trucks hauling clay and sandbags needed for levee construction.
"After having joined with our community volunteers and city and state agencies for three of the past four years to protect our communities from flooding, we are well experienced in what it will again take to hold back the rivers that threaten homes," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "As we begin flood duty in Fargo, we continue to closely monitor the situation in other parts of the state, and we will respond quickly if called upon."
U.S. Army Spc. Alex Preszler, with the North Dakota National Guard’s 191st Military Police Company, holds a stop sign as he signals unauthorized automobiles to stop at a traffic control point Tuesday near a borrow pit at the intersection of County Road 20 and North University Drive in Fargo, shown in this photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp. Preszler is positioned at the traffic control point by the N.D. National Guard at the request of the City of Fargo to restrict all but essential flood-fighting traffic in preparation for a possibly historic Red River Valley flood.
When activated by the governor in response to requests through the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, the N.D. National Guard serves as the first
military responders during a natural disaster or emergency in the state. The first requests for assistance during 2013 flooding came from the City of Fargo, which is being supported with members who serve with the N.D. Army National Guard's 191st Military Police Company.
Those Guardsmen, who are on state active duty orders, are working around the clock in 12-hour shifts. The main force of effort for the Guard in this early stage of the flood response is to help maintain safety for the public while ensuring ease of transportation for those involved in constructing levees to protect the community.
Since 2009, the N.D. National Guard has contributed more than 125,000 duty days to flood operations in the state.