Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guard Continues Midwest Flood Relief Efforts

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell 
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., June 21, 2011 - About 2,000 National Guard members from nine states are continuing relief operations in the wake of the 2011 Midwest floods, which have ravaged thousands of acres and potentially caused billions of dollars in damage, National Guard officials said today.
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Soldiers of the North Dakota National Guard's 816th Engineer Company provide sandbags to raise the height of the levee near Burlington, N.D., June 14, 2011. Because of the heavy rain the state received, the 816th was tasked to raise several low spots on levees throughout their area. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cassandra Simonton 
Guard members from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have been working tirelessly, some for about three months, to protect their states and citizens from the devastation of rising rivers.
The Arkansas Army National Guard is providing soldiers to the Joint Operations Center and as well as interagency liaison officers for better command and control.
In Iowa, where the Missouri River has caused the shutdown of much of Interstate 29 in the western part of the state, the National Guard has been evacuating citizens and patrolling levees in multiple counties.
Due to the June 13 rupture of a primary levee on the Iowa-Missouri border Iowa Guard members working with the Army Corps of Engineers on June 15 built a secondary levee to protect the southwest Iowa community of Hamburg from an overflow of the Missouri River.
Kansas Guard members are continuing to patrol threatened levees, monitoring them for potential weakness from the pressure of the rising Missouri River waters.
Guard members from Louisiana are performing levee patrols and area security, providing aviation support and resource transportation for critical areas affected by the flooding.
With seven counties heavily affected by the floods, Missouri National Guard members are providing liaison officers and have been moving non-mission-essential equipment to Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., in preparation for a potential relocation of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
Nebraska Guard members are providing levee monitoring for the city of Omaha and have prepared generators in the event they are needed for critical areas.
North Dakota Guard members are still running 24-hour operations. They are providing quick response forces and ground search and rescue teams to multiple counties throughout the state.
North Dakota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with hoist capabilities also are being used to place one-ton sandbags along weakened levees.
In South Dakota, Guard members are providing air assets for sandbagging efforts and personnel transportation. They have deployed a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team and more than 100 hand-held radios to increase communication throughout the state.
The Wyoming National Guard has activated its emergency operations center while performing flood mitigation in several counties.
The Guard also is in full swing for the annual hurricane season, but will continue its current operations both at home and abroad, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said.
"Your National Guard has been fully engaged in the war fight overseas, and we also stand ready to answer the call domestically when a disaster happens," Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley said.
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National Guard Bureau 

Airman Honors Father With Bronze Star

By Air Force Capt. George Tobias 
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., June 21, 2011 - An Air Force Space Command chief master sergeant used the occasion of her retirement ceremony here to take care of one last troop -- her father, who was presented with the Bronze Star Medal he earned four decades ago.
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Army Col. Timothy Coffin, deputy commander of Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Strategic Command, pins the Bronze Star on retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Porter as his daughter, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Nancy Geisler, looks on during her retirement ceremony June 13, 2011, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Porter earned the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 while serving with the 4th Infantry Division, currently located at Fort Carson, Colo. U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Howk 

Chief Master Sgt. Nancy Geisler, a contracting superintendent and area manager for the command, recognized her father, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Porter at her June 13 retirement ceremony. Geisler coordinated with the Army to present Porter with the medal he earned for service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 with the 4th Infantry Division, currently located at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
For Geisler it was important to recognize her father's service.
"My father told me while I was young that he had received a Bronze Star," she said. "So I kept that in the back of my mind, and with my upcoming retirement I wanted to present a shadow box to my father of his Bronze Star and his citation, but he told me that the Army never presented him his Bronze Star."
Geisler then decided that at her retirement ceremony, her father should be presented his Bronze Star medal. While they had the orders that showed Porter earned the medal, no records of the citation could be found.
This prompted the 4th ID to regenerate the citation, allowing Army Col. Timothy Coffin, deputy commander of Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Strategic Command, to present it and the Bronze Star to Porter.
"Now is the time to make history right," Coffin said as he presented the medal.
Service members today enjoy great support from the nation, but "that was not the case back in 1969 and 1970 during the period of time that Sgt. 1st Class Porter was in Vietnam," Coffin said.
"The 4th ID is still today overseas serving in Afghanistan, serving in combat operations," he said. "We have young soldiers today doing the same things that, 41 years later, Sergeant Porter has been recognized for."
Geisler also commented on the disparity of support that today's service members enjoy, as compared to their predecessors who'd served in Vietnam.
"It is very rewarding to me to see that he finally got recognized for his service," Geisler said of her father's award.
Geisler said her father was very pleased when he heard he would be presented his Bronze Star.
"He said he was so proud and told all his friends where he lives that the Army finally did him right," she said.