128 CES Airmen activated to assist in state emergency recovery efforts

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jenna V. Lenski
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing

The Wisconsin National Guard activated nine personnel from the 128th Air Refueling Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron to state active duty as a part of the recovery response for major flood damage in northwestern Wisconsin.

On July 12, 8 to 12 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours across northern Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency for eight counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn, according to ReadyWisconsin.

Walker's declared emergency authorized Wisconsin's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, to call upon National Guard forces to assist local authorities with recovery efforts.

The 128th CES Airmen, as well as other Wisconsin National Guard members, are providing operating support functions to clear debris in the northwestern region affected by the storms.   National Guard personnel are trained and equipped to support the state mission at any time based on the needs of the community and the state governor.

"We are very eager to assist the state in this time of need," said Chief Master Sgt. Harry Wilkinson, the chief enlisted manager with the 128 CES.  "Our Airmen have the knowledge and motivation to use their skill sets and be involved in disaster response.  This is what we train and prepare for and it's good to be utilized to help out our state."

The crew of Airmen brought chainsaws, rigging equipment, generators, light kits, and heavy machinery including a dump truck and Kubota skid loader.  They cleared trees and debris from hundreds of feet of roads and ditch lines.

Walker, Dunbar and several state officials met last week in Ashland and Hayward with local, county and tribal leaders to discuss ongoing needs in the wake of damaging floods.

Five of the 128th CES Airmen will stay on orders and continue to help with the recovery efforts, while the rest will return this weekend.