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Guard plans combat brigade

The North Dakota Army National Guard is expected to announce plans Monday for a Fargo combat support brigade that could bring more than 500 new positions to the area.

The North Dakota Army National Guard is expected to announce plans Monday for a Fargo combat support brigade that could bring more than 500 new positions to the area.

A news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at the new Army National Guard storefront recruiting office at 4950 13th Ave. S. in Fargo.

Two high-ranking Guard officials will speak at the conference: Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen, adjutant general of the state National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Dennis Jacobson, assistant adjutant general.

The new combat brigade will be a combination of other military units across North Dakota, said Master Sgt. David Peterson, who leads eight Army National Guard recruiters in eastern North Dakota.

Peterson, based in Fargo, said the new unit could increase Army National Guard numbers from 3,000 to 3,600. He said Haugen and Jacobson would likely discuss when the brigade will be operational.

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Although Monday's news conference "should be good news for Fargo and the North Dakota National Guard," Don Canton, spokesman for Gov. John Hoeven, said he was reluctant to confirm specifics of the announcement.

"I can't confirm it right now because it's still up in the air," Canton said Friday. "Monday we'll get all the details."

A news release issued Friday afternoon said the purpose of Monday's news conference will be to announce plans for a new state Army National Guard force structure in Fargo.

After Monday's news conference, the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the new National Guard storefront recruiting office.

Guard spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Rob Keller said the new force structure will help fight the war on terrorism. He wouldn't confirm that the new structure will be a combat support brigade in Fargo.

"That's still speculation," Keller said.

He did say the new structure would help the Army National Guard grow in the Fargo area.

In addition to the brigade, Peterson said recruiting is being done for another unit new to Fargo - the 191st Military Police Company. The U.S. Army reactivated the unit in mid-October, with headquarters in Fargo.

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The 191st MP unit is expected to have 170 members, 84 stationed in Fargo and 43 each in Bismarck and Mayville. The unit had been based in Mandan for 29 years when the Army disbanded it in 1997.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Joe Whetham at (701) 241-5557

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