True wingmen: Minot Airmen earn Humanitarian Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal. (Photo by Mr. Steve White)

Humanitarian Service Medal. (Photo by Mr. Steve White)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. are eligible to receive recognition for their role in the relief and recovery efforts related to the historic flooding that devastated the area two years ago.

On June 3, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the Humanitarian Service Medal for more than 5,600 members of the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing for humanitarian relief efforts to the civilian community in the wake of the severe flooding in the area of Minot, Burlington and Velva, N.D.

The Souris River broke records in June 2011, cresting at more than 1,560 feet above sea level. This massive surge damaged more than 4,000 homes and displaced approximately 11,000 people including more than 1,100 Airmen and their families.

Airmen at Minot immediately responded to the disaster, building sandbag levees and helping to evacuate those affected. Many personnel quartered on the base opened their homes to Airmen and their families who were displaced by the flooding.

The Humanitarian Service Medal is authorized to U.S. military personnel providing humanitarian and disaster relief assistance during the period of May 10 to Nov. 21, 2011. Personnel must have been assigned to the immediate area of operation, which is determined to be in the areas of Minot, Burlington, and Velva, N.D. To qualify, personnel must have provided at least one day of direct support in the above designated area.

Personnel records will be automatically updated. If any eligible Airmen doesn't see the update in their records, they may take documentation proving their eligibility to their local military personnel flight.

The Humanitarian Service Medal was created by Executive Order 11965, Jan. 19, 1977. It was established to honor personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguished themselves by meritorious direct participation in a significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature, or have rendered a service to mankind.