BISMARCK, N.D. —North Dakota National Guard Soldiers have been serving on the on the U.S.-Mexico border. Their mission began in February and is expected to continue until the end of the year. An OH-58 Kiowa helicopter and crew of two pilots along with an aircraft maintainer will serve one- to three-month rotations. The mission joins them with other Guard Members from across the nation to provide support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The aviators from North Dakota will gain a tremendous amount of experience by flying in an austere environment different from what they are used to here at home. This will require constant attention to power management and other hot-weather-flying techniques,” said Maj. Paul Helten, supervisory instructor pilot with the North Dakota National Guard. “They will also benefit from joint operations experience by working with the other federal agencies. Our aviators work closely with our local law enforcement here in North Dakota, and their security and support battalion experience will prove valuable during this operation.”
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, N.D. Army National Guard aviators have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Djibouti (Horn of Africa).
“North Dakota Army Aviation continues to try to provide the best possible support to our state and our nation, whether through deployments overseas, across the nation or right here in North Dakota supporting local or state emergencies,” Helten said. “Our ability to support state or local emergencies will not be affected by this (border patrol) mission.”
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,800 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, nearly 300 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, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
High-resolution photos available on Flickr set "Southwest Border Mission"
Accompanying video on youtube “ND National Guard SW Border Mission”