The Missouri National Guard is adding additional capabilities in Southeast Missouri to support communities there. In response to requests from Southeast Missouri local authorities, Gov. Jay Nixon orders 100 additional Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen to support emergency response activities in the region.Missouri's Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are literally working around the clock to help their neighbors in the southeast, said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. Missourians should be proud of our Guardsmen - I know Gov. Nixon and I are.
The Missouri National Guard task force currently has approximately 630 Soldiers and Airmen on emergency duty in southeast Missouri in response to flood conditions.
Scott County Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn, who served as a first lieutenant with what was then the 1140th Engineer Group, was reunited with his engineer comrades outside the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo in Sikeston. Ziegenhorn, who had been sandbagging at the site for days, said the Guard made a world of difference.
"I can't praise the Guard enough for coming to our rescue," Ziegenhorn said. "We were holding our own, but what a boost!"
The group of volunteers, including the Jaycees, had put in a yeoman's effort before the Guard arrived, Ziegenhorn said. They had rigged a rodeo stage with road cones to make a funnel system, and had managed to fill 15,000 sandbags with it over the course of four days.
The 50 Guardsmen and their equipment had matched that number in less than half a day, Ziegenhorn said.
He had high praise for Danner, with whom he served in the Missouri House. Ziegenhorn was also thankful for Gov. Jay Nixon's willingness to call up the Guard to help.
"It means a lot knowing that the governor was willing to send us the help we need," Ziegenhorn said.
Missouri National Guard members are responding quickly to changing conditions in the Southeast Missouri region. Missouri counties, Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Scott and Stoddard, are all engaged in the flood response efforts. Morehouse and Canalou continue to face rising waters, where residents and local authorities work together to help save those communities.
Local resident Casey Bailey, who has lived in Canalou for six years, was with Guardsmen around midnight, filling and laying sandbags. Bailey said many of the town's residents had already evacuated, but he wanted to help.
"I want to do what I can to help save our town," Bailey said. Having all these people out here tonight gives me some hope."
"We show up and get to work and we're here until the job is done," said 1st Sgt. Haskel Rooker, 1140th Forward Support Company. "We thank the community of Morehouse for their support and help. We'll be here until we get the job done."
Missions in Southeast Missouri continue to expand, including sandbagging, evacuation support, levee monitoring, route reconnaissance, security, traffic control, and door-to-door safety checks. There are a small number of Airmen that are supporting Lambert Air National Guard Base with tornado recovery.
Units supporting the flood response include: 70th Troop Command, Jefferson Barracks;, Whiteman Air Force Base/St. Louis; 139th Airlift Wing, St. Joseph; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood; 175th Military Police Battalion, of Columbia; the 1140th Engineer Battalion, Cape Girardeau; the 1221st Transportation Company, of Dexter, Portageville and Sikeston; 1140th Forward Support Company, Cape Girardeau; the 1138th Military Police Company, of West Plains and Springfield; the 1138th Engineer Company, of Farmington and Fredericktown; the 1175th Military Police Company, of St. Clair and St. Louis; the 880th Engineer Detachment, Perryville; the 220th Engineer Company, Festus; the 1438th Engineer Company, of Macon and Kirksville; 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of Jefferson City; Missouri Wing Civil Air Patrol and the Joint Operations Center at Joint Force Headquarters in Jefferson City.
While the flood waters continue to ravage communities across the region, Danner wants to emphasize to everyone, from the mobilized Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, to the community members, to remain vigilant in safety issues.
The Missouri National Guard will continue to stand beside these communities in this fight, said Danner. We need to ensure everyone takes the proper safety precautions to ensure we can all remain focused on winning this.
Missouri TMs Soldiers and Airmen will continue working in support of local authorities until released by the governor.For continuing updates on the response, visit www.moguard.com and social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.blog.moguard.com