They lined up for one last time.
After nearly 70 years of operating in Mott, the National Guard unit culminated the seven decades with a final formation.
Mott loses their guard unit—that opened in the late 40s—after the downsizing of the National Guard units across the country was announced in early March of this year. But the unit was informed of the decision the previous December, when Adj. Gen. Alan Dohrman informed community leaders that the 1st of the 816th Horizontal Company in Mott would be ceasing operations in August of 2017.
By Cole Benz
“General Dohrman was very up front with us,” Mott Mayor Troy Mosbrucker said in an interview with the Herald in March. “It was a very hard thing for him to do.”
The guard got a significant send off. On Saturday, July 29, soldiers of past and present gathered for a final formation that took place at 1 p.m.
A lunch was served prior to the event at 11:30 a.m.
The closure is just one of multiple closures announced in early March. Rugby, Bottineau and Grafton were also slated to close.
The North Dakota National Guard has seen its numbers decline in recent years, hovering around 3,000 service men and women. Dohrman also told The Herald that because of the declining numbers, it is hard to support National Guard units in communities like Mott.
Dohrman added that “this decision was not taken lightly, and we appreciate the partnerships and outstanding support from all our communities affected by the change.”
The loss of guard drills could be factor in the local economy. According to Mosbrucker, the town sees an influx of nearly 40 people during guard drills on a given weekend.
“We are sad to see the unit leave” said Mott Mayor, Troy Mosbrucker. Asked what the economic impact would have on the community, “approximately four to six thousand per weekend; when you include gas, lodging and food purchased every weekend”.
The unit is also a popular one to join, they have soldiers that come from all part of the country, including Minnesota and Oklahoma.
The unit in Mott was an engineering company, it was one of two construction-type units in the state.
In an emailed response to The Herald in March, Adj. Gen. Alan Dorhman said this of Mott:
“We would like to thank Mott and all the communities for your overwhelming support throughout the years. We appreciate the open and honest dialogue we had about the divesture of the 816th Engineer Company. You have always been a valued community partner and we will continue to support the communities throughout the state.”