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N.D. soldiers receive word of deployment

Soldiers from the Grand Forks- and Bismarck-based 1st Battalion 188th Air Defense Artillery received mobilization orders Saturday to support military operations in Afghanistan, the North Dakota National Guard announced.

Soldiers from the Grand Forks- and Bismarck-based 1st Battalion 188th Air Defense Artillery received mobilization orders Saturday to support military operations in Afghanistan, the North Dakota National Guard announced.

About 39 soldiers will make up a Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment team. The unit goes on active duty status Nov. 18. In the meantime, soldiers will prepare equipment and handle personal matters, said Guard spokesman Master Sgt. Rob Keller.

RAID is a rapidly deployed high-tech sensor system used to protect allied forces.

Some volunteers and members of other Guard units were added to the RAID team to bring it to full strength, Keller said.

Once mobilized, the unit will report to Fort Hood, Texas, to train before deploying to Afghanistan.

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They are scheduled to replace the 1st Battalion 188th ADA JLENS unit now in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

JLENS is the acronym used for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor. It is a system designed to use a blimp or tower to mount a sophisticated set of radars. The system was originally designed to use a tethered blimp floating up to 15,000 feet to detect cruise missiles over the horizon. The system has since been adapted using towers to provide security for airfields and forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

"The North Dakota Army National Guard has been called upon again to serve in the global war on terrorism," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, adjutant general of the state's National Guard.

"They will continue to enhance the great reputation that their unit has already earned in Afghanistan."

The state has about 390 Army National Guard soldiers alerted or deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, or as part of the NATO force in Bosnia.

They include:

- Company A, 164th Engineer Battalion, Minot, 122 soldiers, now in Iraq.

- 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery SECFOR, Grand Forks and Bismarck, 150 soldiers, now in Afghanistan.

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- 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery (JLENS), Grand Forks and Bismarck, 39 soldiers, now in Afghanistan.

- 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Brigade, Bismarck, 22 soldiers, now demobilizing from a NATO mission to Bosnia.

- Engineer Brigade, Bismarck, 45 soldiers, to be mobilized in March.

- 1/129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Bismarck, 13 soldiers, now serving in the Central Command, which has sites in Qatar, Atlanta and Tampa, Fla.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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