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Dave Olson, Published October 07 2012

Guard thanked for Kuwait deployment

WAHPETON, N.D. – About 160 members of the North Dakota National Guard’s 188th Engineer Company received a great big thank-you here Sunday for a yearlong deployment in Kuwait that was completed in August.

The gratitude extended to employers and to family and friends who provided support for the troops during that year.

“You were in service to our nation right here at home, and we all know there are a lot of challenges,” U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said, addressing soldiers’ family members during Sunday’s “Freedom Salute” ceremony.

Speaking to the soldiers, Hoeven said the sacrifices they have made in order to serve their country are “something you should be thanked and honored for, for the rest of your life.”

Hoeven’s thank-you was echoed by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., as well as U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., whose words were read by a representative, as he could not be at the ceremony due to illness in his family.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota’s adjutant general, told the soldiers he was extremely proud of each of them. He said he was also proud of the fact that one- fourth of the unit’s members re-enlisted while overseas and he said it was important to remember that more than 100 North Dakota Guardsmen are still serving overseas.

During the ceremony, members of the 188th received recognition for various achievements, including Sgt. Kris Anderson, who was recognized for having completed his fifth deployment.

Asked after the ceremony why he was willing to commit to so many deployments, Anderson kept his answer short.

“Somebody needs to do it,” he said.

The 188th Engineer Company is based in Wahpeton and Oakes and includes soldiers from nearly 70 communities in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The unit specializes in construction missions and its members are skilled in the construction trades, including masonry, carpentry and plumbing.

While in Kuwait, the unit completed more than 150 construction projects, including renovations and building construction.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555