North Dakota Army National Guard aviators based in Bismarck are traveling to Arizona to support the southern border security mission.
One UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and one UH-72A Lakota helicopter with assigned crews will support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection mission for periods of 45 or 90 days, according to Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general for the state Guard.
The Black Hawk is assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment and the Lakota is from the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment. Both units are stationed at the Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility south of the Bismarck airport. The Black Hawk helicopter's principal mission is to carry people and equipment. The Lakota aircraft is used primarily for reconnaissance and surveillance.
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Fourteen Guard soldiers will be involved: pilots, crew chiefs and aircraft maintainers.
"The different terrain and austere environmental conditions at the border will provide diverse experiences for our aviation and maintenance crews not available here in North Dakota," Dohrmann said. "This deployment will improve the overall proficiency and professionalism of the soldiers involved."
The North Dakota National Guard has been supporting security operations at the southwest border since 2012.