BISMARCK, N.D. — Two North Dakota Army National Guard soldiers are being recognized for saving migrants from drowning at the southern border of the United States last month.

Spc. Luis Alvarado, of Bismarck, and Spc. Gracin Clem, of Dickinson, were conducting surveillance for U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 22 when they observed five migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande River, the National Guard said.

The migrants were halfway across the river but struggled to stay above water due to strong currents and high winds. The two men were equipped with nylon rope lifelines and Clem swam a line out to help the people that were struggling. The soldiers rescued two people as the other three managed to get to safety.

“There wasn’t time to be scared,” Clem said. “It wasn’t an option.”

Alvarado and Clem are assigned to the North Dakota National Guard’s 957th Engineer Company and have been part of the southwest border mission since the fall of 2021.

“These heroic actions demonstrate the unyielding commitment of our Guard members to preserve lives while in the service of our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general. “Our entire chain of command is extremely proud of the actions of all our soldiers.”

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