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Deployment to Afghanistan canceled for Dickinson-based Guard unit

DICKINSON, N.D. - A Dickinson-based North Dakota National Guard unit will no longer be sent to Afghanistan.

The 816th Engineer Company had been alerted to potential mobilization in June, but 150 members slated to go to Afghanistan were told this week by the Department of the Army that they are no longer scheduled to serve overseas early next year.

With many colleges now into their second and third weeks, it is “an unfortunate time of the year to receive this cancellation,” said Sgt. Jennifer Joyce, public affairs specialist for the North Dakota National Guard.

Decisions about deployment and alert status are made by the Army, and not within the National Guard.

“The school year just started, some had plans to enroll in college,” she said. “That’s the major issue. For those that were attending college, they weren’t able to enroll, or missed enrollment.”

Soldiers who had been scheduled for deployment received resources for dealing with the unexpected cancellation, the National Guard said in a statement, including information about health care eligibility, delayed college enrollment options and assistance from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

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