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Saturday, December 16 2017 @ 12:37 PM CST

Military Flood Support Mission Shifts in Colorado

Helicopters and crews of the 4th Infantry Division’s 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, prepare for a ceremonial flyby to mark the end of the unit’s rescue and recovery mission in Boulder, Colo., Sept. 19, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jonathan Thibault  CENTENNIAL, Colo., Sept. 20, 2013 – Members of the Colorado National Guard, the Army's 4th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Carson, Colo., and the Wyoming National Guard are shifting their support of civil authorities in Colorado flood evacuation operations. 

As the state transitions from emergency response to recovery operations, the number of military forces will drop as civilian resources arrive, officials said.

A total of 555 troops, 20 helicopters, two ground search-and-rescue teams, a search-and-extraction team, an engineering team and 53 traffic-control points are operational.

"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Peter J. Byrne, commander of Joint Task Force Centennial and director of the joint staff at the Colorado National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters. "Working directly with flood victims has been both heartbreaking and thoroughly rewarding for our troops, and the outpouring of love and support we've received from our neighbors has been overwhelming."

A team of Colorado National Guard civil and structural engineers is now supporting the Colorado Department of Transportation to assess the safety of roads and bridges in the affected area. All helicopters and crews from the Army's 4th Infantry Division are now staged at Fort Carson. A special Colorado National Guard search-and-extraction team is augmenting Colorado Task Force 1 in a wide-area search.

As of 11 a.m. MDT yesterday, National Guard and active-duty military members had evacuated 3,465 people and 887 pets. Aerial teams had evacuated 2,758 people and 887 pets -- 22 by hoist. Helicopters and crews also transported 39 tons of cargo, including critical food, water and clothing, as well as transportation and engineering supplies.

Colorado National Guardsmen evacuated 707 people by ground, along with a number of animals estimated to be in the hundreds. Two teams are on standby in Boulder. To ensure public safety and to protect property, Colorado National Guard members are manning 67 checkpoints in Boulder County, Larimer County and Weld County. About 175 military vehicles are being used to support missions.



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