A new Iowa National Guard program is getting an early test thanks to the summer flooding. Under the so-called GE-SAC Program, retired Guard members volunteer to serve as liaisons in their home counties – quickly assessing local disasters to recommend whether the guard should respond.

Retired Sergeant Major Lowell Tiedt of Anamosa attended a day long training session on July 11th and just three weeks later was called to evaluate the dam break at Lake Delhi. “We thought this was going to be something that was useful, but we didn’t realize it was going to be this useful this quick,” Tiedt said of the program.

Three other retirees were recently activated to respond to flooding in Ames, Colfax and Reasnor. Tiedt was in Colfax and says the Guard has not assigned any troops or equipment to respond to the damage. “They have to exhaust their resources before we can step in because it all comes out of different pots and in this case Colfax handled things very, very well,” Tiedt said.

The intention of the GE-SAC Program is to improve communication and efficiency while 2,800 Iowa National Guard soldiers serve in Afghanistan. So far, 70 retirees from 55 different counties have volunteered. The eventual goal is to recruit two from each of Iowa’s counties by next summer.

“There are 99 counties, so we are far short of the number needed to make this program better,” Tiedt said.