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WASHINGTON –  Colonel Robert Becklund, director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems test site in Grand Forks, has been promoted to brigadier general.

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Robert (Bob) Becklund

“Whether it’s flying an F-16 or overseeing the integration of our unmanned aerial systems fleet into the National Airspace, [Becklund’s] skill across a range of military aviation assignments qualifies him well for both his mission and his new rank,” said Senator Hoeven in a statement he issued on Nov. 30.

“Bob has all the qualities of a good general. He is decisive, poised and a team builder. Importantly, as his current work with UAS demonstrates, he is also a visionary. The work he is doing right now in Grand Forks is not only bolstering our national defense, but also paving the way for beneficial applications for UAS in fields as varied as border security, agriculture, energy and emergency response. In the coming months and years, I look forward to working with him to advance the rich potential of UAS technology in North Dakota.”

General Becklund is currently the Chief of Staff for Air, Joint Force Headquarters, North Dakota National Guard, following an assignment as Commander of 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard.

Additionally, General Becklund has recently returned from an assignment with the USAF Remotely Piloted Aircraft Task Force at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In his civilian capacity he serves as the Director of North Dakota’s Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Test Site.

Becklund enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard prior to being selected for commissioning and pilot training. He has held a range of positions at both the wing and state levels. Notable achievements include Distinguished Graduate honors from USAF Basic Military Training, the ANG Academy of Military Science and graduating first in his class from the USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training.

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Marisa Jackels