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Published August 06, 2013, 03:10 PM

Jamestown Unit Removed from Afghanistan Deployment Alert

FARGO, N.D. - More than six months after being placed on alert for a potential mission to Afghanistan, Soldiers of the Jamestown, N.D.,-based 817th Engineer Company (Sapper) learned that they will not be mobilized. The U.S. Army notified the unit that it will no longer be needed for the previously anticipated mission.

By: WDAZ Staff Reports, WDAZ

FARGO, N.D. - More than six months after being placed on alert for a potential mission to Afghanistan, Soldiers of the Jamestown, N.D.,-based 817th Engineer Company (Sapper) learned that they will not be mobilized. The U.S. Army notified the unit that it will no longer be needed for the previously anticipated mission.

"The Soldiers of the 817th Engineer Company have proven their capabilities and dedication in numerous endeavors over the years, from natural disaster support to missions in Iraq," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "I'm grateful for their service and their willingness to take part in yet another mission, but I'm also thankful that their families will no longer need to worry about spending a year apart from their Soldiers. This is also good news for their employers, who have been instrumental in ensuring the mission success of our citizen-Soldiers."

The North Dakota National Guard unit of nearly 100 Soldiers received an alert notification in December 2012 and began preparing for a potential Afghanistan mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom expected to begin the spring of 2014.

Last June, the unit, which specializes in combat engineer missions, trained for two weeks preparing for their overseas mission at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

The company last deployed from June 2007 until June 2008 and served in Iraq. Prior to its transformation to the 817th Engineer Company, the Jamestown unit was designated Company B of the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion. The Soldiers in that unit also deployed to Iraq, as part of a 15-month mission from December 2003 through February 2005. On each deployment, the Guardsmen served as "Trailblazers," securing routes of potential hazards to ensure safe movement for coalition forces and civilians.

While somewhat unusual, it's not the first time that a North Dakota National Guard unit has been removed from a deployment roster due to the continually changing mission and corresponding skills needed among the Armed Forces. Previously, the 835th Engineer Team (Asphalt) and 897th Engineer Team (Concrete), both Carrington, N.D.-based units, were removed from alert status in June 2011. Additionally, the Bismarck-based 814th Medical Company was removed from an alert in September 2006.

The 814th Medical Company is again on alert to deploy, having received a notice in January for a possible Afghanistan mission early next year.

Today, about 30 North Dakota Air National Guard Airmen are serving in Afghanistan with the 119th Security Forces Squadron and about 30 North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers are serving in Cuba with the 191st Military Police Company. Additionally, two small units of fewer than 10 Soldiers are deployed overseas; the 1919th Contracting Team serving in Afghanistan and Qatar and Detachment 42 Operational Support Airlift in Afghanistan. More than 200 additional Guardsmen are serving on stateside mobilizations, the bulk of which hail from the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment and are taking part in a National Capital Region mission.

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