INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 10, 2011, 10:49 PM

North Dakota National Guard is remembered as the 9-11 anniversary approaches

(WDAY TV) -- As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11th, we look back at the role the North Dakota National Guard has played in the Global War on Terror. Once a strategic reserve, the Guard now serves as an operational force, one just as heavily relied on as other military branches.

(WDAY TV) -- As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11th, we look back at the role the North Dakota National Guard has played in the Global War on Terror. Once a strategic reserve, the Guard now serves as an operational force, one just as heavily relied on as other military branches.

Col. Mike Aberle/ND National Guard: "Nobody really knew at that moment just how big the attack was going to be."

Minutes after the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center, three North Dakota Air National Guard fighter pilots took to the air. Over the next ten years, thousands more North Dakotans would play a role in what we now know as the 'Global War on Terrorism.’

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk/ND National Guard, Adjutant General: "Today as we look back I am very proud of what our National Guard has done. Not only in ND, but nationwide and as I look to the future I know that we will continue to be of great value to our nation."

56-hundred North Dakota soldiers and airmen have deployed since 2001. That's nearly 2000 more deployments than World World I. North Dakota's 957 left for Iraq in 2003...becoming the state's first unit to serve in the Global War on Terrorism. Eight years later, the North Dakota National Guard is still sending units.

Col. Mike Aberle/ND National Guard: "The Army and Air Force are using the Guard and Reserve more heavily now on this global war on terror than they ever did before 9/11."

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk/ND National Guard, Adjutant General: "I don't see the Guard's role changing in the future. Today, our nation's defense relies heavily upon the National Guard."

With that reliance, has come tragedy.12 Guard members have lost their lives. They join 12 other heroes, with ties to North Dakota, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk/ND National Guard, Adjutant General: "Never forget the sacrifice of the young men and women as they go off to war, especially those that are killed in war and their families."

In the years leading up to this day, North Dakota Guardsmen never knew if they would deploy.

Today it's an expectation.

Col. Mike Aberle/ND National Guard: "One-hundred percent of our force is here to fight this war on terror because they want to be."

More than 65 percent of the state's guard has enlisted since 9/11.

Tags: