FARGO, N.D. — A Williston-based North Dakota National Guard unit with a detachment in Hazen, N.D., received an alert for potential mobilization. Nearly 100 members of the 818th Engineer Company (Sapper) have been contacted and told to prepare themselves and their families for the possible mission.
“Our North Dakota Guardsmen continue to perform missions successfully both at home and abroad, and I have complete faith that the 818th Engineer Company will again uphold the North Dakota values of hard work and professionalism should they receive the notice to mobilize,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “This alert should provide plenty of time for Guardsmen to prepare their families and employers for the potential mission that’s ahead of them.”
The decision to mobilize this unit has not occurred, but an alert gives the unit notification of that possibility for training and planning purposes. The mobilization location and start date would be part of a Department of the Army mobilization order, which typically follows an alert notice. As a Sapper unit, the 818th Engineer Company focus could be on combat engineer missions, such as route clearance, general construction and demolitions. If mobilized, this would be the first Global War on Terrorism mission for the 818th Engineer Company, which was established as part of a transition to a more modular force that took place in 2006.
Capt. Robert Bohl, of Flasher, N.D., serves as the 818th commander, and 1st Sgt. Rashad Schaffner, of Dawson, N.D., is the unit’s senior enlisted leader.
About a dozen North Dakota Guardsmen are mobilized overseas now, which is the lowest level since the Global War on Terrorism began. Five North Dakota Soldiers voluntarily extended their service in Kosovo after deploying there in 2009. The remaining Soldiers and Airmen are serving on individual mobilizations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and Korea.
One other North Dakota National Guard unit is on alert for a potential mobilization. The Carrington-based 835th Engineer Team — which includes 40 Guardsmen split between the 897th Engineer Team (Concrete) and the 835th Engineer Team (Asphalt) — received an alert notification in November.
Additionally, two North Dakota National Guard units have received mobilization orders and expect to deploy later this year. About 160 members of the Wahpeton-based 188th Engineer Company (Vertical), which also has a detachment in Oakes, will likely mobilize in August. They received an alert notification in October and a mobilization order in April for a yearlong mission to Kuwait.
About 55 members of the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment (Security and Support) also received a mobilization order in April. They expect to mobilize for a year, beginning in September for a NATO peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
Besides the pending federal activations, the North Dakota National Guard continues to fulfill its stateside mission, responding to flooding in the Bismarck and Minot areas with about 600 personnel. An additional 2,700 Guardsmen remain available for other missions.
“Your National Guard remains ready and available for any mission, here or abroad,” Sprynczynatyk said. “This is what makes the Guard so great. It’s a tremendous value to America to have a reserve force that’s skilled at not only helping their neighbors at home but in defending freedom and preserving peace overseas.”