FARGO, N.D. — Members of the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Civil Engineer Squadron are expected to return from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia this week. Most of the Guardsmen will return to Fargo’s Hector International Airport on three commercial airline flights Thursday. A dozen are scheduled to arrive at 10:25 a.m., with five coming in at 12:30 p.m. and the largest group arriving at 2:50 p.m.
The group of about 50 deployed in mid-December 2011 and has been working on construction and electrical projects during the mission. Due to U.S. Air Forces Central policy guidance, the exact location of the mission can’t be disclosed.
While in Southwest Asia, the group maintained 633 facilities, 89 generators and 74 light carts. The Airmen also repaired 8 miles of perimeter berm, installed four shower trailers, renovated a dining facility and eight other buildings, serviced 1,400 HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) units, rebuilt the main base entry to improve security, completed a $1.6 million electrical distribution/substation project and completed another 20 construction projects valued at $4 million. The Guardsmen also worked on airfield sustainment, repairing 28 airfield spalls and 8,000 feet of joints as well as repairing and maintaining 450 airfield lights. The group maintained two Mobile Aircraft Arresting Systems for safety.
Lt. Col. Jon Wahlgren commanded the group while Chief Master Sgt. Scott Terry served as the senior noncommissioned officer.
It’s rare for the Air Guardsmen, who are known internationally as the “Happy Hooligans,” to deploy in such a large group as with this deployment, rather than a few at a time. With this return, about 20 North Dakota Air National Guard members remain deployed overseas in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. About 300 North Dakota Army National Guard members also are deployed, serving in Kuwait and Kosovo and at mobilization station in Fort Bliss, Texas, preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan.
WHO: Members of the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard
WHAT: Returning home from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia
WHEN: 10:25 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. Thursday, June 14
WHERE: Hector International Airport, 2801 32nd Ave. N.W., Fargo, N.D.
MEDIA: Staff Sgt. Amy Wieser Willson will be on site to assist, if needed. Changes to flight arrival information will be posted at http://www.fargoairport.com/flightinfo.html.
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. About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 300 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while about 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 from the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron deployment can be downloaded at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard/sets/72157629262056559/. Photos of the group as they prepared to leave in December are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard/sets/72157628444616353/.
Video of the engineers preparing to leave can be viewed at http://youtu.be/zTfEUMQy0W0.
For more information
North Dakota Air National Guard Engineers Leave on Six-Month Deployment (Dec. 16, 2011)