After spending most of 2012 assisting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the southwest border of the United States, members of the North Dakota Army National Guard remain on mission but in a new location for 2013.
Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment (Security and Support), out of Bismarck, began the mission in Arizona in February 2012. As this year began, their assistance was requested to continue but in Texas.
"For such a small team of North Dakota Guardsmen to accomplish so much in less than a year is incredible yet not surprising," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "North Dakota Guardsmen continue to be recognized around the globe for their dedication and work ethic, and I know the support these men and women have provided the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ranks at that same standard."
Eight soldiers two pilots and one crew member at a time have been serving on one- to three-month rotations on the border along with an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter.
Lt. Col. Jerry Anderson, the N.D. Army National Guard's state Army aviation officer, said the soldiers "did some truly great work down there."
They provided about 570 hours of support to the task force in the first six months of the mission. They've seized drugs and weapons and assisted with a number of other missions, as well. From March through October 2012, N.D. soldiers seized 15,656 pounds of drugs and apprehended 1,077 people, as well as conducted 10 search and rescue missions.
Elements of the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, also have served outside the U.S. recently. Its Headquarters and Headquarters Company deployed in support of a NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo from September 2011 through September 2012.