DISASTER RELIEF: Army, National Guard Response to Colorado Floods

September 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Air Evacuation

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

As you’ve probably seen, read or heard, northwest Colorado has been deluged with flooding after days of heavy rains. U.S. Army units as well as members of the Colorado National Guard have been deployed to assist local first responders in evacuations, sandbagging operations as well as search and rescue. At least eight people have died as a result of the flooding and thousands  have been evacuated from their homes — according to the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets.

Sometimes those rescues came at the end of a helicopter hoist cable.

In the photo above, Staff Sgt. Jose Pantoja, a flight medic with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, assists an evacuee onto a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colorado on Monday (September 16). Pantoja is assigned to Company C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. (Wonder if they call it the “Triple 4”?) The unit is based at Fort Kit Carson in Colorado.

For more photos of aerial evacuations, click here and here.

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County. (Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County.
(Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

The photo below captures some of the destruction caused by flash floods through mountainous country in and around Boulder where past drought and forest fire damage have weakened top soil and tree roots, causing landslides, mudslides, washed out roads and trapping residents in isolated communities on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

We confess a special interest in this story since your 4GWAR editor and spouse were just in this area last month for a little R&R after dropping off the blog’s in-house IT consulant for his sophomore year at University of Colorado-Boulder. (Said consultant has informed his parents he’s all right, although classes at CU-Boulder were cancelled for two days and some areas around campus were evacuated.) Many smaller communities in the mountains of Boulder and Larimer counties have only two-lane roads winding through narrow canyons for access, and when they are flooded, buried in debris or washed away residents have no way of getting out.

In the last photo, U.S. soldiers and airmen from the Colorado National Guard, along with members of civilian emergency response agencies, fill sandbags in Arvada, Colorado. More than 17 inches of rain fell on Boulder in just over a week. The average annual rainfall for Boulder is a little over 19 inches.

 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

To read more about Defense Department efforts in the disaster (U.S. Northern Command and NORAD are both headquartered in Colorado) click on this DoD webpage.

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Entry filed under: Aircraft, Disaster Relief, Homeland Security, News Developments, Photos, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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