Illinois National Guard Released from Flood-Fighting Duties

About 830 citizen soldiers and airmen conducted flood operations in a dozen counties as high waters caused widespread damage to roads, levees and other public facilities, the Illinois National Guard said.

by Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, Ill. / August 1, 2019
Handyman Jim Crow cleans an Aerie's Zipline building on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, along Main Street in Grafton, Ill. AP/Laurie Skrivan

(TNS) — About 30 remaining Illinois National Guard soldiers and airmen assigned to flood-fighting duties in East Cape Girardeau were allowed to return home Tuesday.

With that, all members of the Illinois National Guard have been released from active duty status after providing more than two months of assistance to communities along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

About 830 citizen soldiers and airmen conducted flood operations in a dozen counties as high waters caused widespread damage to roads, levees and other public facilities, the Illinois National Guard said in a news release on Wednesday.

The Illinois National Guard’s task forces completed 62 requests for assistance along more than 362 miles of riverbank as part of an overall response effort led by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

"The Illinois National Guard is a community-based organization, and when our communities need help we answer the call,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. “As they do when they deploy to fight our nation’s wars, they leave families and jobs behind to help their fellow citizens.”

The soldiers and airmen assisted with sandbagging, levee and pump support and monitoring, and a variety of other tasks. Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated National Guard soldiers for state active duty beginning May 30 to assist with flood relief in southwest Illinois along multiple levees and other areas hard hit by rising waters. In total, soldiers and airmen from 14 units across the state were dispatched to assist communities battling floodwaters.

With the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, at 33.4 feet, a drop in river conditions of more than four inches in 24 hours, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency made the decision the area no longer needed emergency protection measures, according to the Illinois National Guard’s news release.

Southern Illinois officials estimated that flooding caused in excess of $13 million in damages.

molly.parker@thesouthern.com

618-351-5079

On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI

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