Filling Sandbags, Ready To Fly
Seventy-five members of the Minnesota Wing of the Civil Air
Patrol are on the ground in the Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN, area
filling sandbags and building dikes in areas threatened by the
rising Red River.
"We've been checking and packing our gear and finalizing our
call-down list for the past week in anticipation of getting the
call," said 1st Lt. Steven Parker, the St. Cloud Composite
Squadron's emergency services officer. Parker, a former CAP cadet,
is a full-time student at St. Cloud State University who will be
commissioned as a U.S. Marine Corps second lieutenant in May.
Twelve cadets and two senior officers departed St. Cloud
Regional Airport Tuesday evening for the three-hour trip to the
Fargo/Moorhead area. The St. Cloud squadron was working this
morning south of Moorhead with CAP members from the Minnesota
Wing's Anoka and North Hennepin squadrons laying sandbags in flood
A man in his 70s greeted the CAP vans as they rolled up. "He was
awfully glad to see us," Parker said. "This is a situation where a
community is in need of our support. We're here to help in any way
The ride to the site and a quick reconnaissance of the area told
CAP members all they needed to know about what they're facing.
"Waterways running high and the saturated ground have created ideal
conditions for flooding," Parker said. "We're going to be
Minnesota's Hutchinson, Red Wing, St. Croix, Mankato and St.
Paul squadrons have similar missions at other locations. Other
squadrons are in route. Several senior officers and cadets are
working at the mission base at Fargo's Hector International
Airport. Weather conditions brought both relief and concern to
Parker. "The weather is ideal for working outside, sunny and in the
'50s, a far cry from the blizzard conditions we experienced during
last year's flood," he said.
Ice jams on the Red River north of Fargo have slowed the rushing
waters, but the warmer temperatures and sunshine will hasten their
melt. "That concerns everyone here," Parker said. "We're watching.
It's all we can do."
Maj. Paul Pieper, Minnesota Wing's emergency services director,
said Minnesota air crews are standing by to assist. "We just
finished up a series of training missions in anticipation of
supporting disaster relief efforts in the Red River Valley, as well
as other areas of Minnesota threatened with flooding."
"The flood fight is on again in North Dakota and Minnesota,"
Pieper said. "It's go time."