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South Dakota National Guard performs night operations in Dakota Dunes

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. - -- Soldiers and Airmen of the South Dakota National Guard are providing 24-hour flood support operations here June 29, 2011.

The Army Guard Soldiers and Air Guard airmen provide round-the-clock levee patrols, Quick Reactionary Force missions, and security checkpoint operations.

While all the troops stationed in the Dakota Dunes area work long days, the Soldiers and Airmen working throughout the night face some unique challenges, said Senior Airman Brandon Bak from Castlewood, a Task Force 114 levee patrol member and F-16 Crew Chief with the 114th Fighter Wing.

"It takes some getting used to. The sleep schedule is the biggest challenge," said Bak. "But it definitely has its' perks, because it's a lot cooler out here on the levee at night."

Another big challenge for the National Guard members serving in the flooded area at night is the increased amount of gnats and mosquitoes, said Airman 1st Class Garret Werkmeister from Howard, a Task Force 114 levee patrol member and an F-16 Crew Chief with the 114th Fighter Wing.

"The bugs are terrible." said Werkmeister. "About the time we get on shift is when they really come out."

But despite the adjusted sleep schedule, long nights, and pesky bugs, the Soldiers and Airman are happy to be serving their state and living a part of history, said Bak.

"It means a lot to be serving here," said Bak, "This event is going to be remembered for a long time. It's nice to be a part of history."