by Maj. Jeffrey M. Bishop,
131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
1/25/2016 - JEFFERSON BARRACKS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo. -- 10
Citizen-Airmen from 131st Bomb Wing's initial flood response task force
will remain on State Emergency Duty as liaison officers to support
flood recovery efforts as part of Operation Recovery.
The members from the 231st Civil Engineer Flight, the 131st Civil
Engineer Squadron, and the 239th Combat Communication Squadron will help
communities remove debris and recover from historic flooding that
struck the state over the New Year holiday.
While some have completed their duties and have been released, a number
remain involved. The LNOs, based here, have been coordinating debris
removal and aid to assigned communities across the region under the
leadership of Lt. Col. Grace Link, Missouri Air National Guard director
In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, a number of Airmen from the
131st Bomb Wing and its affiliated units worked alongside fellow
Missouri National Guard soldiers to support flood response and recovery
Within the first 12 hours of the operation, a complement of Jefferson
Barracks-based Airmen helped protect the water treatment facility at
High Ridge, Missouri. More than 35 Airmen rallied from the 157th Air
Operations Group, the 131st CES and the 239th CBCS to build a four-foot
high sandbag barrier around the site in the St. Louis-area community.
"Our people had all worked a full day, and went back out there and
filled sandbags until 1 in the morning," said Lt. Col. Bill Boothman,
director of operations for the 157th AOG.
As part of the Missouri Guard's Quick Reaction Force, the wing has four
hours to muster its Airmen. In this situation, volunteers were recalled
at 4:30 p.m., and by 6:30 p.m. were on site filling and laying sandbags,
according to Boothman.
At the same time, the Army Guard's armory at Festus, Missouri, the
location for the flood response task force, suffered water damage that
affected communications. In response, the 239th Combat Communication
Squadron deployed six Airman to set up, operate and maintain its Joint
Incident Site Communication Capability, or JISCC system, to provide
satellite-based telephone, network and email capability to the
The team had communications online within six hours, managed the system
around the clock, and stayed on throughout the operation; even after
armory communications were restored, in order to expand capacity and
ensure continuous connectivity, according to Capt. Tony Crnko, 239th
officer in charge.
"Having them here has been a blessing," said Missouri Army National
Guard Maj. John Myers, a battle major in the Tactical Operations Center.
"If there were any problems, they were right here to work them out for
us, no matter what time it was."
Another four Airmen from the 231st CEF worked as liaison officers in the
Joint Operations Center at the Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson
City, Missouri. Their work included tracking personnel and equipment,
along with liaison work to the State Emergency Management Agency,
according to Maj. Rachel Jackson, a civil engineer with the unit who was
not part of that team.
"That's pretty much in our wheelhouse," said Jackson of the role the
LNOs played. "As a staff augmentation team, that's right in line with
what we train to do."
The wing also sent public affairs support to St. Louis, where a joint
Air Force-Army broadcaster team filed video stories, photos and articles
and worked with reporters to keep the state in the know about the role
the Missouri Guard is playing in the flood response and recovery. Those
stories can be found on the wing's Facebook page at
"The Missouri Air Guard brings a lot to the mission; in terms of
numbers, in terms of rapid response and in terms of unique
capabilities," said Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander.
"The ANG stands 2,400 tall, and is ready to roll whenever tasked.
"Once again, the men and women of the 131st Bomb Wing have much to be
proud of in respect to the help we provided our Missouri neighbors
during and following these floods," Francis added.