News: Community honors Air Defense Soldiers for successful National Capital Region mission
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The North Dakota National Guard along with family, friends and community supporters honored more than 200 Soldiers from the Grand Forks-based 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment today during a Freedom Salute ceremony at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The event celebrated the Air Defenders’ successful mission as part of the integrated air defense system designed to protect the airspace around the National Capital Region in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
“Today, we officially welcome home the members of the 1-188th Air Defense Artillery and honor them for the outstanding job they performed defending our homeland and protecting our nation's capital,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “They completed an important mission and did so with great skill and professionalism. We are proud of these Guardsmen and grateful to them and their families for their exemplary service to our state and nation.”
Under the command of Lt. Col. Jon Erickson, of Bismarck, North Dakota, the unit, which mobilized in May 2013, spent 297 total days conducting 24/7 operations as the ground-based air defense battalion in the National Capital Region. This was the 10th deployment for the battalion, making the 1-188th ADA the most-deployed North Dakota National Guard unit during the global war on terrorism. Portions of the battalion previously served on two separate missions to Iraq, six missions in Afghanistan and one mission in Kosovo.
“The Soldiers of the 1-188th ADA demonstrated great competence and professionalism during this mission in support of Operation Noble Eagle,” said Brig. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, North Dakota deputy adjutant general. “The unit's leaders enforced high standards and a maintained positive command environment setting an excellent example for other National Guard units to emulate.”
Each Soldier honored today received a gift to present to a family member as thanks. About half of the Soldiers recognized at the event received additional honors for having served on more than one deployment in the global war on terrorism.
Although the unit is headquartered in Grand Forks, it has units in Bismarck and Fargo. The Soldiers hail from 27 North Dakota communities, as well as 12 cities in neighboring states.