12 December 2009


A NG two-fer:
Guardsmen’s instincts and training save day after car crash

By Tech. Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa
Florida National Guard

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Staff Sgt. Sergio Valdes, of 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, was one of three Florida Army National Guard Soldiers who help medically treat victims of a traffic accident near Cocoa Beach, Fla., Dec. 6, 2009. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (12/10/09) - When Staff Sgt. Sergio Valdes saw a dog running down Interstate 95 with its leash dragging behind it, he knew there was trouble.

Valdes, a squad leader with 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, based in Miami, said he slowed his vehicle down immediately because the dog didn’t just look like an ordinary stray.

Valdes and two other Florida National Guard Soldiers were traveling from Miami in South Florida to Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in North Florida on Dec. 6, when they noticed the dog running through traffic on the interstate near Cocoa Beach.

That was when the Soldiers saw a vehicle on the other side of the road, upside down on its roof in nearly ten inches of water; the dog and three people had escaped, but one woman was still trapped inside.

Although cars were already pulling over and some people on cell phone were calling for help, it was the Guardsmen who reacted quickly.

Valdes, along with Staff Sgts. Gino Astudillo and Luis Robles of Alpha Company based in Hollywood, Fla., leapt from their van, dodged oncoming traffic and started running toward the accident. . ..

Yes, there is more on this B*N*S*N here. And then there is this:

North Dakota firefighters share their knowledge in Kosovo

Story courtesy of the North Dakota National Guard

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Staff Sgt. Corey A. Ebach listens with the help of a linguist Vallmid Kalesh as the driver of the Hani I Elezit/Djerenal Jankovich fire department truck explains the mechanical problems on the 36-year old vehicle. (Photo courtesy of the North Dakota National Guard)

HANI I ELEZIT/DJENERAL JANKOVICH, Kosovo (12/8/09) - Steep mountain roads have been the only way to reach some of the outlying villages around here. During inclement weather even a four-wheel drive vehicle can have difficulty reaching some of these areas.

The roads can make it difficult in times of crisis, such as a fire, for rescue workers to access homes. Making matters worse, the municipality's fire truck was in need of a little attention.

Liaison Monitoring Team (LMT) 8, part of Multi-National Task Force-East, is responsible for this area. Two of LMT 8's members, 1st Lt. Jake M. Larson, of Warren, Minn., and Sgt. Dale H. Clemens, of Noonan, N.D., have experience working for rural volunteer fire departments.

"We heard from the last rotation the fire department was nonexistent as far as fire-fighting capabilities. With Lieutenant Larson and I on the on the team, it piqued our interest. To us a key point to a community is to have an active fire department, whether it is volunteer or full-time," Clemens said.

Soon after arriving in Hani I Elezit/Djeneral Jankovich for the first time, the Soldiers learned of the firefighters' equipment concerns. The main focus was the 36-year-old fire truck that had a few maintenance issues.

"Their fire truck does work, but it lacks the power to make it up the mountain roads to the surrounding villages with a full load of water," Clemens said....

More here.

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