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Fargo, North Dakota...

...not exactly where you expect to find the US Coast Guard.

You expect to find the Army National Guard there, and the Air National Guard, and you do.  The Coast Guard, not so much.  But, like the old Army recruiting song... when they're needed, they'll be there (clicking either of those two links will take you to an album of shots courtesy the North Dakota Natonal Guard Public Affairs office).

03/26/2009 - U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Wheeler radios to the crew of an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter during a search and rescue mission in Fargo, N.D., on March 26, 2009. The Coast Guard and several state and local response agencies are coordinating a joint rescue effort for citizens in flood-prone communities in Fargo, Oxbow and Bismarck, N.D. DoD photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell, U.S. Coast Guard. (Released)

03/26/2009 - U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Wheeler radios to the crew of an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter during a search and rescue mission in Fargo, N.D., on March 26, 2009. The Coast Guard and several state and local response agencies are coordinating a joint rescue effort for citizens in flood-prone communities in Fargo, Oxbow and Bismarck, N.D. DoD photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell, U.S. Coast Guard. (Released)

There is an excellent series of pictures of the Red River flood and response from the AP at Boston.com, showing neighbors coming together to help each other - and, as you read the captions - the problem just isn't at Fargo, there are problems in Manitoba, Canada, as well.

12 Comments

But where are the looters? Where are the people demanding FEMA and other government agencies take care of them? Where are the people blaming Obama for slow response?
 
I'm very proud of my Fargo teammates through all of this -they have a very strong community, and that strength has been very evident throughout this past week.  Since it appears that the level has receded slightly from yesterday's high, I'm hoping that the peak has been reached.  However, they expect the water level to remain close to this record high (over 41 feet, with 18 feet being flood level) for at least 3 more days - so now the concern is whether the sandbag dikes and earthen/clay dikes can hold that long. 
 
While I see your point, Karen - aside from the very different natures and scope of the disaster, those questions are better asked *after* the levees and dikes fail (and here's hoping we don't get to ask the questions).

I have seen the Democrat Representative of the region assert that everything is going differently because they've been in charge for two months.

Amazing, isn't it?  How incompetent government employees suddenly become competent because the head of the agency changes?  Pretty much overnight?  The presumption that FEMA and HLD learned nor changed anything in the time between Katrina and the Inauguration, and that any improvement is creditable only to changes since late January. 

Amazing contempt displayed for the long-service guys and gals in FEMA vice the temps who've moved in since January.
 
I have seen the Democrat Representative of the region assert that everything is going differently because they've been in charge for two months.

So? They were in charge in N'Awluns for *years*.

Maybe the folks in Fargo actually used the levee appropriations to strengthen the levees instead of building fountains honoring their city councilmembers.

 
I wonder if Fargo will need the National Guard to stay for 3 years like NOLA did?

There are more people in danger in Fargo than were in New Orleans. Most NOLA residents left. Most Fargo residents stayed.

I've put about 45 pics of the National Guard and Coast Guard efforts up at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chucksimmins/sets/72157615865424942/detail/

Contrary to CNN, the military has been there since day 1. Northcom's response, horrifying the libs, was well after the National Guard showed up.

 
of course the USCG is there, they are responsible for boating safety on inland waterways.

The USCG was a first responder in NOLA, too In fact that was their largest rescue operation, ever.


 
Marvin, I thought the USCG's responsibitliy ended at the head of navigation on the inland waterways?  I.e., the USCG station here in Leavenworth, Kansas, managed the buoys and signage up to Omaha, the head of commercial navigation on the Missouri.  Beyond that it was the Corps and State's concern.  They've closed that station now, managing it from somewhere else (it still exists as a storage facility).  As I understood it (and it's a decade-old understanding) if you could commericially barge your way to open water, the Coast Guard had an interest, otherwise, it was a matter for others.

The station closed because we were getting maybe one or two barges getting as far north as Leavenworth.  I think the functional head of navigation is at Kansas City, where the last time I saw anything about the Coast Guard was they were pushing to *not* have the casino boats actually cruise, not wanting to have to try and manage all that passenger traffic.  Hence the boats were really mostly rubber ducks in bathtubs.

Has that changed? The jurisdiction issue, I mean - not the casino boats. Or is my understanding just, wrong? Which would be odd, since I got it from the USCG liaison guy for some National Security events we worked together when I was at 5th Army.
 
Armorer, I also thought the Coasties were limited to navigable waterways ... but I'm not sure that "navigable" is limited to commercially navigable.  So as is my usual wont with questions like this, I figured the old horse's mouth is the best place to go:

"The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service and one of the nation’s five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests – in the nation’s ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security. "

No qualifier about "navigable" waterways that I can see.   Looking further, I find that North Dakota is in USCG District 8, and the USCG has a special website set up for news about the flooding. 
 
Fiddly Francophile here.

That is a FRENCH helicopter, sir. It is an Aerospatiale (Eurocopter) machine , known by it's maker as "Dauphin" (NOT Dolphin). In French, a Dauphin is a viceroy, as well as a sea creature.

The only reason I can understand why the Coasties wouldn't have kept the Dauphin's proper name is that they suddenly turned into Francophobes after 1979, when they first began to acquire the HH-65s.

I say suddenly, because the USCG used another French aircraft, the Dassault-Breguet Falcon before the Dauphin, but they kept the name when they started flying that bird.

The French made decent aircraft then, and still do.
 
Gad, you woke up grumpy today, Rivrdog.

I swear, I get *more* grief about DoD-supplied captions than anything else around here.
 
Welllll, I can quibble and get you off the hook, John.

Technically, the HH-65 isn't a Dauphin because it was ordered without the twin Turbomeca Arriel engines -- Congers had specified American-made, so they had two Lycoming 101-750s installed. Then, after the Coasties discovered the Dolphin didn't have the power to go out with a full crew and return with a full crew plus three survivors (after having burned off an hour's worth of fuel), Congers funded an engine upgrade to the aircraft and the Coasties installed

*wait for it*

a pair of Turbomeca Arriel engines.

So, the HH-65 isn't a Dauphin -- it's merely an up-engined Dolphin which now has all the capabilities of a Dauphin.
 
 In regards to your question on Coast Guard authorities for support to civil authorities you can read this blog posting from Admiral Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard

http://www.uscg.mil/comdt/blog/2009/03/coast-guard-support-to-civil.asp#links

We hope you keep following us.

Very Respectfully,
LCDR Tony Russell

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