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ND National Guard ends longest deployment

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Last week, the North Dakota National Guard ended its call-up to help in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Guard was activated for a two-year period.

"In total, over 1000 different National Guard service members took part in this operation for at least a period of time," said Major Ryan Boom of Fargo, the chief of domestic operations for the Guard. "Some did the entire duration."

Boom said he was deployed for 14 months.

Boom said the Guard had a number of roles during the pandemic. He says the initial role was to help test people for the virus.

"Then we transitioned to more steady state operations, where we supported the State Lab in running tests," Boom said. "We were also running call centers, notifying North Dakota citizens if they tested positive for the virus. They probably received a phone call from a National Guard member."

Boom said this was the longest mission for the Guard.

"Over 133,000 personnel days ion the operation, with approximately 736 days of operation," Boom said. "It's good to get back to normal."

For Boom, normal means one weekend a month, two full weeks a year – working in Bismarck.

"But I will get to return to Fargo, to my family," Boom said. "I have a wife and three kids, so they're excited for me to be back."

And Boon said he's looking forward to returning to his civilian employer.

"I know he's excited to have me back as well," Boom said.

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