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Forum staff reports, Published October 30 2012

ND Guard unit alerted for mobilization

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The most-deployed unit in the North Dakota Army National Guard since the 9/11 attacks has been told to prepare to be sent on a mission in the United States, the Guard announced Tuesday.

The 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, based in Grand Forks with detachments in Fargo and Bismarck, is preparing to mobilize in May for a yearlong mission in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 of the unit’s troops will work as part of the integrated air defense system protecting the airspace in and around the nation’s capital as part of what is called Operation Noble Eagle.

The 1/188th’s troops will replace a Florida Army National Guard unit.

The 1/188th is led by Lt. Col. Jon Erickson, of Bismarck. Command Sgt. Maj. Alvin Zimmerman, of West Fargo is the senior enlisted leader.

It will be the 10th deployment for the unit in less than a decade. The 1-188th ADA most recently deployed to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping mission in 2009-10.

Before that, portions of the unit deployed six times to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized nearly 3,900 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism, the Guard said.

About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 125 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense, the Guard said.