News: Medical unit prepares for Afghanistan deployment
BISMARCK, N.D. - The first large deployment of North Dakota Army National Guard medical personnel got off to a warm start despite the cold weather today. Families, friends, community members, elected officials and military members came together to formally send-off about 40 members with the 814th Medical Company (Area Support).
The soldiers will soon depart on a yearlong mission to Afghanistan. While doctors and medical professionals have previously deployed to serve in the Global War on Terrorism, this is the first deployment for an entire medical unit.
"The members of the 814th Medical Company are embarking on an important mission in service to our state and nation," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who spoke at this morning's event at the Raymond J. Bohn Armory in Bismarck. "This highly-skilled unit will be a strong asset in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and will provide critical medical care for coalition forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with these soldiers and their families, and we look forward to welcoming them back home to North Dakota."
Capt. Coty Sicble, of Bismarck, commands the 814th while 1st Sgt. Kenneth Baer, of Garrison, N.D., serves as the senior enlisted leader. About half of the group are medics, but the unit also includes a doctor, dentist, nurse and physician assistant.
"You all bring a wealth of specialized skills to this incredibly important mission," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, told the deploying soldiers. "I'm sure you will find the next year challenging and yet rewarding. Your families, too, will face challenges. Know that the sacrifices you all will be making in the coming months, whether at home or overseas, support the health and well-being of some of our nation's greatest assets: our military men and women."
The Guardsmen will conduct additional pre-mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, before traveling to Afghanistan. While there, they will serve under the 62nd Medical Brigade to provide patient transport between treatment facilities on base as well as medical treatment for coalition forces at a troop medical clinic.
"Thank you to all those who helped train us. We are well prepared and ready to go. Through our training we have formed bonds that will continue to strengthen during our mission overseas and ensure our success," said Sicble about commanding the unit.