MINOT, N.D. - A small group of North Dakota Air National Guard airmen assigned to the Minot, N.D.-based 219th Security Forces Squadron left this month for a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia, where they will support U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) operations.<br /> <br /> About 15 airmen volunteered for the base defense and security operations mission being led by Master Sgt. Luke Gardiner. The airmen are well-versed in providing critical protection measures for military personnel and other important assets. They will be able to draw on the experience and training provided by their home unit, which made history in becoming the first National Guard unit to team up with an active-duty Air Force unit to provide for one of the nation's three missile fields.<br /> <br /> In May of 2013, the 219th SFS assumed control of the entire northern sector missile field complex near Minot, N.D., making it the first time ever, anywhere, Reserve forces provided complete control of missile field security.<br /> <br /> "The 219th Security Forces Squadron airmen out of Minot enjoy a great reputation, not only in the state, but throughout the entire National Guard & Air Force," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "We know that our airmen have what it takes to ensure the safety and security of coalition forces during their time supporting CENTCOM."<br /> <br /> "We are so proud of the airmen from the 219th Security Forces Squadron who have answered their country's call to duty and are deploying on a six-month mission in support of CENTCOM," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who spoke during a small send-off ceremony hosted for the deploying airmen. "We are grateful to them and their families for their willingness to serve and are confident they will carry on the tradition of the North Dakota Air National Guard with another successful mission. We wish them all the best throughout their deployment and look forward to welcoming them back home to North Dakota."<br /> <br /> Due to Air Force deployment regulations, North Dakota Air National Guard members do not have public send-offs as their Army National Guard counterparts, who fall under Army regulations, do. Instead, they were honored quietly at the air base in Minot shortly before departing for Southwest Asia.<br /> <br /> CENTCOM is one of nine unified commands in the United States military. Six of these commands, including CENTCOM, have an area of responsibility (AOR), which is a specific geographic region of the world where the combatant commanders may plan and conduct operations as defined under the Department of Defense's Unified Command Plan.<br /> <br /> Located between the European and Pacific combatant commands, U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility covers the "central" area of the globe and consists of 20 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.<br /> <br /> With national and international partners, U.S. Central Command promotes cooperation among nations, responds to crises, and deters or defeats state and non-state aggression, and supports development and, when necessary, reconstruction in order to establish the conditions for regional security, stability, and prosperity.<br /> <br /> Additional North Dakota Army National Guard units currently mobilized overseas include the Bismarck-based 814th Medical Company (Area Support) in Afghanistan and Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment in Kosovo. Another 200 soldiers with the Grand Forks-based 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment are serving on a yearlong deployment to Washington, D.C., three are serving for a year in Texas as part of the Southwest Border Mission, and two North Dakota soldiers are serving in Kuwait.