Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - 12:11 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota National Guard’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, visited North Dakota National Guard soldiers serving along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas today and Monday, thanking them for their work to support efforts by state and federal officials to secure the border, stop illegal immigration and interdict drug and human trafficking.

“The work they’re doing down here is so important, trying to protect the border, trying to stop illegal crossings. This is a matter of national security,” Burgum said, noting the federal government under the Biden administration isn’t fulfilling its responsibility to secure the border. “We’re full of gratitude for the North Dakota National Guard, full of gratitude for all the law enforcement that’s down here, the Border Patrol professionals that are working to keep our country safe.”

“Our highly trained North Dakota National Guard soldiers are setting a tremendously high standard here, and we couldn’t be prouder of their outstanding service in support of state and federal authorities to secure the southwest border,” Dohrmann said. “The hands-on training and experience our soldiers are receiving on these missions, and the goodwill they’ve created here through their community service, will benefit the North Dakota National Guard and our entire state for years to come.”

Burgum, who serves as commander-in-chief of the North Dakota National Guard, received a briefing from leadership of the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment before touring the border with the unit in one of its UH-72A Lakota helicopters. The 1-112th has approximately 125 members deployed on federal status in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The yearlong deployment in October 2022 followed the return of 125 members of the 957th Engineer Company’s Multi-Role Bridge Company in September 2022 after they assisted CBP at the border for about a year as requested by the U.S. Army through the National Guard Bureau and with Burgum’s authorization.

On Monday, the governor toured the 188th Engineer Company’s security and engineering operations at the border and received briefings from Guard and CBP leaders. Approximately 100 members of the Wahpeton-based 188th began a 30-day mission last week in support of Operation Lone Star, a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Department. The operation was launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in March 2021 to secure the border, stop drug and human trafficking and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.

Burgum deployed the 188th in response to a request from Abbott in a May 16 letter asking for states to send available resources to combat illegal activity at the border and ensure the safety and security of all Americans.

North Dakota National Guard units have provided support at the southwest border during more than 10 deployments since 2006. Due to security concerns, the military requested that the locations of the 188th and 1-112th not be publicized.