Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen serving on state active duty in the wake of extreme flooding concluded their mission to support civil authorities in Burlington, Wisconsin, today.
While the local response effort will continue in the coming days and weeks, the National Guard troops were released from state active duty as floodwaters began receding.
The National Guard manned traffic control checkpoints on roadways and bridges affected by high water, but the city has now reopened most of the affected roadways. The Soldiers also conducted health and welfare checks, knocking on approximately 370 doors in the city over the course of their time there. In one case, Guard Soldiers worked with neighbors to evacuate a woman trapped in her home by floodwaters. The Soldiers and neighbors used a boat to get her from her home and finally into a Wisconsin National Guard vehicle capable of fording through high water back to safety.
Approximately 85 Guardsmen were on duty in Burlington after torrential rains soaked the region July 11-12 causing the Fox River to rise above major flood stage. The Fox River at Burlington crested at a record 16.1 feet Thursday morning.
Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency, which authorized Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, to activate the National Guard to assist local response efforts.
The National Guard Reaction Force, made up of Soldiers from the Madison, Wisconsin-based 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry, arrived in Burlington early July 13 to assist local authorities as needed. Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee also supported the effort.
Assisting civil authorities during times of emergency is at the core of the National Guard’s dual mission as the state’s first military responder and primary combat reserve of the Army and Air Force.