Gov. Jack Dalrymple was at Fargo's Hector International Airport today to personally welcome home Staff Sgt. Teresa Pavljuk, who serves with the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Wing. Pavljuk is the last North Dakota Guardsman to return home from service in Iraq. Major General David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota's adjutant general, joined the Governor in welcoming her home.
"We are thrilled to welcome home today Staff Sgt. Pavljuk, who has so honorably served her country and represented the state of North Dakota," said Dalrymple. "Her extraordinary service closes an impressive chapter in North Dakota's support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and her return symbolizes the many Soldiers and Airmen who have served and sacrificed to bring peace and stability to Iraq and the region."
About 2,000 North Dakota Guardsmen have served in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Pavljuk was the only North Dakota Guardsman who remained in country in recent months after having deployed in March to work in air transportation. In that role, she worked to ship cargo before extending her deployment to help with the drawdown of U.S. forces.
"With the return of North Dakota's last Guardsman, we are reminded of the outstanding contributions made by the men and women of North Dakota's National Guard over the past several years in Iraq and of the great sacrifice that was made by those who did not return home," said Dalrymple. "The people of North Dakota are proud and grateful for the noble service performed by Staff Sgt. Pavljuk and all of our Guardsmen."