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'Happy Hooligan' Mission Change announced
March 5, 1999

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Governor Ed Schafer today confirmed the state's sole Air National Guard unit will take on a new mission later this year.

The Department of the Air Force has announced that the 119th Fighter Wing ("The Happy Hooligans"), based at Fargo’s Hector International Airport, will convert to a general purpose fighter unit from a dedicated continental U.S. air defense unit. The unit has conducted air defense missions since 1947.

General purpose fighter units can perform several roles, including air-to-air combat, air defense, bombing and delivering precision guided air-to-ground munitions.

Schafer said, "This is really an affirmation of the great confidence the Air Force has in the Happy Hooligans, and their ability to execute our National Security Strategy."

The new role will require expanded training and some job changes for Air National Guard personnel. In addition to training pilots and maintenance personnel on skills required for the mission change, they will still be an active participant in providing continuous, around the clock air defense alert from their detachment site at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

The period for conversion is scheduled to begin this October and may take as long as two years to complete. Minimal changes in the number of part-time and full-time military positions are expected with the conversion.

Formal planning for the mission change will begin in May with a visit from a 'ready team' based at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

For additional information, contact:
Col. Lyle Andvik, 119th Fighter Wing commander, (701) 241-7102
Maj. Gen. Keith D. Bjerke, The Adjutant General, North Dakota National Guard, (701) 224-5101


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