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Brossart among troops deployed to Middle East

ND National Guard detachment will support ‘Operation Spartan Shield’

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 4, 2021

Submitted Photo North Dakota National Guard Sgt. Allison Brossart, center front, received a sendoff from her family and friends at Lake Region State College Aug. 13. In back from the left are Arron Brossart, David Brossart, John Karels, Rich Brossart, Bobby Hartl, Meryle Vinje and Rachel Hartl. In the middle from left are Lila Harstad, Marissa Ruby, Jane Brossart, Robert Brossart, Colleen Brossart and Colleen Karels.

A 2005 Rugby High School graduate was among 54 members of the North Dakota National Guard sent off to a year-long mission in the Middle East from Devils Lake Aug. 13.

Sgt. Allison Brossart, daughter of Lila Harstad and Robert Brossart, is a member of the 835th Engineer Utilities Detachment (EUD).

The unit will serve for a year with the United States Central Command to support Operation Spartan Shield, which a statement from the North Dakota National Guard described as “a multi-component – active duty, National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve operation.”

“The mission is to maintain U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia, strengthen defense relationships, and to build partner capacity. The unit’s specific tasks would consist of vertical construction and utility work to support units already in theater,” the National Guard statement added.

Harstad said she felt “nervous, excited and a little scared” for her daughter in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been evacuating American citizens.

Harstad said her daughter had told her that her unit would not be deployed to Afghanistan.

“Allison joined the National Guard when she was a junior (at Rugby High School) in 2004,” Harstad said. “She was part of the Rugby National Guard Water purification unit.”

Harstad said although Brossart had been called up for duty in 2009 for flooding in Bismarck, then again in 2011 for flooding in Minot, she had never been deployed overseas before.

The 835th EUD would spend several weeks training in Texas before they deployed to the Middle East, according to Harstad.

On the morning of a terrorist attack against civilians and U.S. troops in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Brossart sent a text to answer questions from her family, Harstad said.

“She actually did a group text to all of us and said, ‘We have a mission and more than likely, that mission will not change. If there’s anything that needs to change to go somewhere else, a unit that isn’t already deployed will do that. So, more than likely, our mission will continue as is. So, don’t be alarmed,'” Harstad said, reading from her daughter’s text message. “So, that’s good news.”

“Their mission is they’re doing construction at some of the bases,” Harstad said. “And even though she’s close to what’s going on over there, it doesn’t make any difference. It won’t change their mission. It will be more than likely some other unit that would come in with a new mission.”

Harstad said Brossart worked in construction for the National Guard as a bricklayer initially. “That’s what my dad used to do,” Harstad said, adding she was proud her daughter was following in her grandpa’s footsteps. As a sergeant, Brossart supervises a construction crew of sheet rock workers, electricians, plumbers and other personnel.

As a civilian, Brossart works at a grain elevator in agronomy.

Thirteen of Brossart’s friends and family members were in the crowd of more than 400 well-wishers at the Aug. 13 send-off ceremony held at Lake Region State College.

A statement by the National Guard said the crowd listened to addresses by Gov. Doug Burgum, who is the North Dakota National Guard’s commander in chief; Sen. John Hoeven; Maj. Gen. Al Dormann, who serves as adjutant general for the N.D. National Guard and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Binstock, N.D. National Guard senior enlisted leader.

“The unit was alerted February 2021 and is commanded by Capt. Justin Johnson and the senior enlisted soldier is Sgt. 1st Class Charles Holzer,” the statement said.

Burgum said in the statement, “North Dakota National Guard units have consistently proven to be the best in the country, and we are confident the highly skilled 835th EUD will prove it again with the successful completion of this mission. These soldiers and their families have our unending gratitude and support for their courageous service and sacrifice in defending our most cherished freedoms. We wish them a successful mission and safe return home.”

Dohrmann said in the statement, “Our soldiers are expert carpenters, plumbers, electricians and equipment operators who will use their engineer skills to improve the lives of others. We continue to be grateful for the support and sacrifice of our Guard families, as well as the support of our employers and communities. Thanks to their outstanding support, we are able to accomplish our missions time and time again.”

The statement added, “Including the 835th EUD, the North Dakota National Guard has almost 600 soldiers and airmen mobilized or scheduled for mobilization.”

“About 70 soldiers assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment are returning from a nine-month deployment to the National Capital Region where 225 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, who left in June, are currently serving,” the statement said. “The 957th Engineer Company has 125 soldiers preparing for deployment to the Southwest border in early autumn while the North Dakota Air National Guard has about 115 airmen mobilized to various locations.”

Harstad said she was proud of her daughter and the support U.S. troops receive from Rugby area residents.

“I’m just very proud of the National Guard all over and everything they do to keep us safe,” Harstad said. “This is what Allison signed on to do when she was 16, so she’s following her mission.”

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