Sioux City, Iowa --
As the volatile spring season approaches in Iowa, there may be some comfort in knowing that there are people who are poised to help if needed in a disaster. Recently the Iowa Air Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, acquired some new equipment that will allow them to help during a disaster in a significant way.
Their domestic operations equipment package includes skid steer loaders, chain saws and other equipment designed to help clean up downed trees and other debris after an event.
This past fall, 185th CE took a little time try out their new equipment when their Army National Guard neighbors stopped by and asked if they could help with a cleanup project in their own back yard.
According to Captain Adam McIntyre, 185th ARW Deputy Civil Engineer, the small training area that is sandwiched between the Missouri River along the west side of the Sioux City air field was littered with trees and brush because of flooding from previous years.
When the area is accessible, army guard units located at the Sioux City armory use the piece of land for a variety of field training activities.
McIntyre said, being collocated at the Sioux City airport, the Army and Air Guard units have every reason to get along and share resources.
“The Army guys marked the path they wanted us to clear, it was mostly a lot of branches but also some large trees that had blocked the paths,” said McIntyre.
McIntyre said clearing fallen trees and brush from the area would allow Army Guard members to drive tactical vehicles through the area and help facilitate field training during the upcoming summer months.
The project also allowed Air Guard members to train with the newly obtained, debris cleanup equipment in a controlled environment.
“We had everyone in CE who wanted to, electricians, carpenters, plumbers get a chance to run the equipment and move debris, so everyone was involved,” said McIntyre.
According to McIntyre the main reason the equipment was given to Air units like the 185th was for cleanup operations after a disaster, like a flood or tornado, so he said the project just made sense.
Now, as the summer months approach, Guard members can again use the area for field training and according to McIntyre, members of the Air Guard civil engineering squadron will have gained valuable experience with the equipment if they need to put it to use.