Local guardsmen deploying to KuwaitFour area North Dakota National Guard soldiers, along with 156 others from eastern North Dakota, will attend a send-off ceremony at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton on Sunday before heading to Texas for training and then to Kuwait.
Four area North Dakota National Guard soldiers, along with 156 others from eastern North Dakota, will attend a send-off ceremony at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton on Sunday before heading to Texas for training and then to Kuwait.
The soldiers, from Williston, Golva and Parshall, are members of the 188th Engineer Co. Vertical units in Wahpeton and Oakes and are being sent first to Fort Bliss, Texas for mobilization training before going to Kuwait, North Dakota National Guard spokeswomen Amy Wieser Willson said.
“I have never been there but I’ve been told it’s hot,” said Sgt. Adam Walsvik, 24 of Hazen. “Some people in our unit have been there already so I’ve heard a little bit from them about what it will be like.”
Walsvik has been a guardsman for about five and half years specializing in carpentry and masonry.
“He’s the poster boy for what a soldier should look like,” said North Dakota National Guard Public Information Officer Dan Murphy, adding Walsvik is a marathoner, biathlete for the guard and has competed in the Soldier of the Year
“Being in the National Guard is something I have always wanted to do,” Walsvik said. “It helped pay for school and I have friends in it, too.”
Walsvik said he is excited to go to Kuwait but also a little nervous.
“It’s my first time overseas,” Walsvik said. “It will be nice to get some experience.”
This is the first mobilization for the 188th Engineers, though their legacy unit in Wahpeton — Company B of the 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion — deployed to Iraq in 2003 and to Kosovo in 2000.
“It is unclear what their mission will be in Kuwait, but it is assumed it will be construction-related,” Wieser Willson said.
Units are deployed based on their skills and these soldiers are trained as electricians, carpentry and masonry specialists, plumbers and horizontal construction engineers. Some are skilled in supply, administrative and maintenance areas, she said.
Since 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the guard has mobilized more than 3,500 soldiers and more than 1,800 airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About a dozen North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense, according to a press release.
The guard will not release soldiers’ names without their permission. The Press only received Walsvik’s name.