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ND Guard Air Defense Artillery ready for mission in nation’s capital

Submitted Photo Gov. Doug Burgum gives remarks at the sendoff ceremony honoring 225 soldiers of the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, June 5, 2021. The soldiers are leaving for a long-year mobilization to the National Capital Region where they will assist in protecting the air space. (National Guard photo by Jon Haugen)

GRAND FORKS – About 225 soldiers of the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery (1-188thADA) Regiment were honored on Saturday at a sendoff ceremony at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks in preparation of a long-year mobilization to the National Capital Region.

Addressing the departing soldiers were the commander-in-chief of the North Dakota National Guard, Gov. Doug Burgum, U.S. Senator John Hoeven, U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Bindstock, North Dakota National Guard senior enlisted leader. The unit is commanded by Lt. Col. Walyn Vannurden and the senior enlisted Soldier is Command Sgt. Maj. Russell Garrett.

“This is the 12th mobilization for the 1-188th ADA since 2004, making it the most-deployed unit in the North Dakota Army National Guard,” said Burgum. “We are deeply grateful for their courageous service and sacrifice, and we acknowledge and appreciate the incredible service and sacrifice of their families as well. North Dakota stands in strong support of these families and our soldiers as they fulfill their duty to protect our nation and our most cherished freedoms.”

Their mission involves collaborating with other Department of Defense agencies forming the integrated air defense system protecting the airspace around the Washington, D.C. area. The soldiers will contribute to Operation Noble Eagle.

“Once again our great air defender soldiers are called upon to help protect the nation’s capital. Your professionalism and expertise will ensure that your extremely important mission is successful,” said Dohrmann. “I am also appreciative of the great support by all of our employers and communities like Grand Forks. We couldn’t do our jobs without you.”

The air defenders supported the Operation Noble Eagle mission twice before; from July 2013 to April 2014 and March 2017 to February 2018. Soldiers from this unit deployed to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping mission, six times to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.

The North Dakota National Guard also has about 70 soldiers assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment serving in the National Capital Region. They deployed November 2020 and are expected home later this summer.

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