MT Air National Guard Works To Prevent Flooding On Taber Dam - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

MT Air National Guard Works To Prevent Flooding On Taber Dam

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ST. IGNATIUS -

This summer a Montana Air National Guard squadron is working on the second phase of a project to prevent a century-old dam surrounding Saint Mary Lake near St. Ignatius from flooding.

The project also prepares airmen and women to complete similar projects during their wartime missions.

“We've been here about three weeks, we're adding two feet to this for the 100-year flood that may or may not come," said project manager, Air Force Master Sgt. Ron Hertz.

Members of the 219th Red HORSE Squadron are hard at work, adding two-feet to the Tabor Dam's surface, and making it more compact.

"When we were here last year it was six feet above flood stage, which was close to top, so with the extra two feet it's less likely to wash down," Hertz said.

During the first phase of the project last summer, the squadron finished up work on the north and central dams.

"The highest importance obviously is protecting houses below in St. Ignatius itself,” Hertz said.

The project also gives airmen and women experience operating heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators.

“I've been mostly on dump truck, but it's still good experience," said Air First Class Jeffrey Gamradt.

The squadron uses training project like this to give airmen real world engineering skills they'll need for deployment.

“It's more hands on instead of learning out of a book. If you actually come out here and get experience with a dump truck or excavator it's just good time on it," Gamradt said.

During deployment the Red HORSE Squadron provides rapid repair and construction support in incidents and special operations worldwide. All airmen and women are trained to use heavy equipment.

"This is one of the best hands on jobs you could ask for," Hertz said.

The project, funded by money that goes toward National Guard training, is set to be complete in about three weeks.

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