GRAND FORKS - More than 200 members of the North Dakota Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, will be honored today before leaving for a yearlong deployment.
The soldiers will be contributing to Operation Noble Eagle in the Washington, D.C., area. The mission will involve collaborating with other Department of Defense agencies as part of the integrated air defense system designed to protect the airspace around the National Capitol Region.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, are expected to speak at the public event today in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
Lt. Col. Jon Erickson, of Bismarck, commands the unit and Sgt. Maj. Wallace Keller, of Bismarck, is the senior enlisted leader.
The unit is headquartered in Grand Forks with units in Bismarck and Fargo, although the deploying soldiers come from 27 North Dakota communities as well as 12 cities in neighboring states.
Leading up to this weekend's send-off, the soldiers have completed a number of pre-certification trainings and tests.
This will be the 10th deployment for the 1-188th since 2004. It is the most-deployed unit in the N.D. National Guard, with portions of the battalion serving on two separate missions to Iraq, six missions in Afghanistan and one mission in Kosovo.