Missouri Army and Air National Guard combine efforts to save levees

  • Published
  • By Spc. Jacqueline Courtney
Flood missions persisted in Carroll County as members of the Missouri Army and Air National Guard combined efforts to continue battling the overtopping water at Belcher Lozier Levee and Miles Point Levee.

Units from the Missouri National Guard working at the levees included the 1-129th Field Artillery Regiment, the 131st Bomb Wing, the 220th Engineer Company, and the 880th Engineer Team.

Even though the waters are still threatening they seem to be under control.

At Belcher Lozier Levee, Guard members were filling sandbags and building walls while the residents transported the sandbags back and forth. Several community members were also on the levee helping to lay bags and build walls. Large dump trucks were used to bring in the sand.

Just like at Belcher Lozier Levee, the Soldiers, Airmen, and residents at Miles Point Levee had a highly effective system of their own. One group shoveled sand, filled bags, and loaded palettes while others used Bobcats to transfer them. Once the sandbags arrived on top of the levee, more were there to lay them.

"It's great working with them," said Master Sgt. Scott Smith, an aircraft maintenance squadron hydraulic system supervisor with the 131st, of working with the Soldiers and community members. "I hope we're a little sigh of relief for them. We're willing to do whatever we can."

Together, the troops have played a major role in keeping the crops, homes, and roads of Carroll County safe.

"It's amazing to me how we can get so many people here in such a short amount of time," said Troy Hofstetter, the Sheriff Emergency Manage Director for Carroll County and retired Army 1st Sgt. "It's just a testament of how willing everyone is to help out and work together."

"Just like all the others days spent out here, today's efforts have been amazing," said Hofstetter. "The leadership on the Guard's part has been amazing."

And according to Staff Sgt. David McClure, a team supervisor with the 880th, they are certainly not lacking in experience. McClure said he has been working flood duties since 1983.

"Between all these guys out here, we easily have between 60-70 years of experience when dealing with and managing floods," explained McClure.

Along with McClure, Staff Sgt. Jake Simons, a B-2 Bomber technician with the 131st, also elaborated on his knowledge fighting floods.

"I grew up on a farm and know exactly how much hard work it takes to maintain one, especially when it floods," said Simons. "I know how appreciative the farmers are, and I couldn't be happier to be out here helping."

Simon's feelings were not exclusive. Every Soldier and Airmen at the levees seemed to feel the same way.

"We're just out here helping good people in a bad situation," said McClure.