BISMARCK, N.D. — “Your Soldiers are coming home!” Gov. John Hoeven announced today to a receptive audience of Family, friends and fellow Guardsmen at the North Dakota National Guard’s Raymond J. Bohn Armory. He and Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, announced the return of the Bismarck based Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment (C/2-285th AVN).
The unit was mobilized in Oct. 2009 with 47 Soldiers and has been serving in Iraq since last Dec.
“It’s always a great day in North Dakota when we know that our Guardsmen are coming home,” said Hoeven. “All North Dakotans are extremely proud of the service of our aviation Soldiers and appreciative of the support provided by their families during this yearlong deployment.”
Company C is comprised of 10 helicopters and assigned crews of which North Dakota has five, with the other half comprised of Soldiers from the Utah Army National Guard. The unit consists of pilots, crew chiefs, door gunners, mechanics, fuelers and flight operations personnel.
“Our aviation Soldiers have done an outstanding job serving in Iraq, flying thousands of safe hours,” said Sprynczynatyk. “They are often requested by name due to the great reputation they established during their tour.”
So far, the unit has flown more than 750 combat missions totaling more than 5,200 flight hours. Assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, they are responsible for transporting senior officials, Soldiers and cargo in Iraq.
We expect them to return to the United States in the next 10 –14 days. Hopefully, they’ll be home in North Dakota by the end of month,” Sprynczynatyk added.
Company C is commanded by Capt. Douglas Larsen, of Granville, N.D. 1st Sgt. Daniel Marquart, of Bismarck, serves as the unit’s senior enlisted Soldier.
Larson recently wrote in an email “We are all ready for the weather to be less than 115 degrees during the day, to go deer hunting, and cheer for the Vikings. We can’t wait to come home.”
C/2-285th AVN was alerted for mobilization in June 2009. The unit will first travel to Fort Sill, Okla., for demobilization before returning home and released from active duty. A team from the North Dakota National Guard will travel to Fort Sill to help expedient the demobilization process.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 150 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 52 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
For more information
N.D. National Guard News Release (8/6/2010)
Experience gained in Iraq will help North Dakota Aviation in the Future
N.D. National Guard News Release (6/24/2010)
Aviation Commander Provides Iraq Mission Update
N.D. National Guard News Release (5/11/2010)
Aviation Company Receives Care from Home While in Iraq
N.D. National Guard News Release (10/5/2010)
Aviation Soldiers Depart North Dakota
Flickr photos C-285th Aviation Company in Iraq
Photo: Company C, 2-285th Aviation Battalion