BISMARCK, N.D. — Elected and military leaders, as well as families and loved ones, gathered at Bismarck’s Raymond J. Bohn Armory today for a send-off ceremony that honored four North Dakota Army National Guard soldiers with the 1919th Contingency Contracting Team. The attendees wished them well as the group readied for a yearlong deployment to support the Global War on Terrorism. Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Sen. John Hoeven joined military leaders and spoke of support for the soldiers and their families during the ceremony.
“This is a bittersweet day for the members of the 1919th Contracting Team and their families as they prepare to deploy on an important mission in defense of our state and nation,” Dalrymple said. “The unit’s highly specialized skills will bring a valuable expertise to the mission and its members will play a key role in supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. We are grateful to these soldiers and their families for their willingness to serve and we look forward to welcoming them back home to North Dakota.”
The soldiers have been training for the past year to hone their highly specialized skills in planning, coordinating and issuing contracts for supplies and services required for supporting U.S. military forces in the field. They will be responsible for contracting support with civilian organizations, which includes American contractors, in-country contractors, and foreign businesses. They will receive more training at Camp Shelby, Miss., prior to deploying overseas.
“Make no mistake, this will be a challenging mission,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “Operating in an austere environment coupled with the trust to faithfully commit the U.S. government and Army’s financial resources is a great responsibility — a responsibility that I am sure you will take seriously and execute flawlessly. With all of your skills and professionalism, I have complete confidence that you will be successful.”
The 1919th Contracting Team Soldiers are based out of Bismarck and, as a small team, their deployment experience will be unique because they are individually mobilizing to Afghanistan and Qatar.
Others speaking during Saturday’s ceremony were Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Connie Sprynczynatyk, State Command Sgt. Maj. Harley Schwind and representatives for Senator Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg.
Maj. Mike Lowe, of Bismarck, commands the unit while Sgt. 1st Class Heidi Sigl, also of Bismarck, is North Dakota’s senior noncommissioned officer on the deployment. Also deploying are Staff Sgt. Cody Martin and Staff Sgt. Curtis Richter.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the North Dakota National Guard has hosted 38 send-offs for deploying Army Guard units, with today’s ceremony marking the 39th.