Sprynczynatyk proud of ND?National Guard

Staff reports
Major General David A. Sprynczynatyk

As the Global War on Terrorism enters its tenth year, our North Dakota soldiers and airmen continued to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and a dozen other nations across the globe and here at home.

This past year North Dakota welcomed home more than 850 soldiers and airmen.  This total includes some 650 soldiers that served in Kosovo and surrounding region.  This historic mission was the largest North Dakota National Guard mobilization since the Korean War era. Led by Brig. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, our soldiers were part of a 2,200 multi-national soldier contingent whose mission was maintaining a safe and secure environment and providing freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo while other soldiers provided high-tech surveillance security for coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

North Dakota aviators in Iraq logged more than 6,200 safe flight hours providing critical transportations in the challenging environment.  Our Happy Hooligan Airmen in Minot provide security to the Minot Air Force Base missile fields setting high standards as the first National Guard unit to receive a ‘ready’ status from Air Force Global Strike Command while our Airmen in Fargo continue to successfully perform their Unmanned Aerial Mission.

This past year, North Dakota Guardsmen deployed to Bosnia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Korea, Panama, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Here on the home front in 2010, the North Dakota National Guard assisted our communities with flood fighting, primarily in the Red River Valley.  Although Guard assistance was not as extensive as the state-wide flooding in 2009 (Guardsmen on duty for 18 days in 2010 versus nearly 100 in 2009) we responded when called to action.

When the April ice storm destroyed approximately 12,000 power poles, North Dakota National Guard members partnered with civilian authorities in locating and documenting the damage to help speed the recovery process.

When we welcome a soldier or airmen home from service around the world our job is just beginning.  Our focus shifts from getting them home safely to ensuring a smooth transition to civilian life through our carefully planned reintegration program.  Families, employers, communities and Guardsmen all play a vital role this process.  We are committed to providing them essential services and help access the veterans’ benefits they have earned.  An example of our commitment is the positioning of Military Outreach Specialists throughout the state to support and assist service members.  This service has reached out to nearly 14,000 veterans and families of all eras and military branches since its inception in 2009.

Nearly two thirds of the North Dakota National Guard members have joined us since the tragic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  Today our strength is at its highest levels since the early 1990’s.  The future of our organization lies ably with these young leaders.

A key component of our organizations success is the great support of our families, employers, veterans and retirees, each who contribute significantly to our Soldiers’ and Airman’s ability to serve and focus on their missions.  We, the North Dakota National Guard, are truly thankful to all North Dakotans for your unwavering support and trust for the men and women who serve you.

We continue to prepare for winter emergency response, plan for potential spring flooding, train to fight wildfires across the state, all the while maintaining our readiness to respond to our missions overseas.

The men and women of the North Dakota National Guard, as busy and engaged as we were in 2010, are ready for whatever is asked of us in 2011.  

Our motto and commitment to the citizens of this state is “Always Ready, Always There.”

 Used by permission.