ND Guardsmen train for mission to Washington, DCA branch of the North Dakota National Guard is preparing for the prestigious mission of guarding our nation's capitol. More than 150 soldiers are busy training at Camp Grafton for a year-long mission in Washington D-C that will begin this summer.
By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ
A branch of the North Dakota National Guard is preparing for the prestigious mission of guarding our nation's capitol. More than 150 soldiers are busy training at Camp Grafton for a year-long mission in Washington D-C that will begin this summer.
This mission is a little outside of the norm for the guardsmen at Camp Grafton, but they say it's an honor that they were chosen for it.
The First Batallion of the 188th regiment is preparing to protect the airspace above Washington DC. The details of the mission are classified, but soldiers say they're excited about the opportunity.
Sgt. Tad Thompson, ND National Guard:" Definitely a lot of honor. It's definitely a high visibly area. A lot of pressure put on to perform our jobs at the optimum level."
Brigadier General Dave Anderson came from Bismarck to survey the troops before they leave.
Anderson: "I've heard from the evaluators that are here that are watching them do this, that are validating their training, and nothing but great compliments and this unit is doing extremely well."
It's not like a normal military mission. Most of the soldiers going have spent time overseas.
Sgt. Seth Bowman, ND National Guard: "Very different going from a overseas mission to a continental United States mission. It's definitely been a big change."
But they say they're picking up the skills needed to succeed in Washington.
Thompson: "They're not gonna let us leave there until we're 100 percent ready to go."
General Anderson says the troops will make North Dakota proud on a national stage. Before the troops head to DC, they'll spend three weeks at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas completing their training.
In the past, National Guard troops typically weren't stationed to protect the capitol and other sites, but after September 11th a group of guardsman from a different state was chosen for the job each year.