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TAG Line March 19, 2021

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, right, and Pam Helbling-Schafer, director N.D. Veterans Cemetery (NDVC), left, gathered with co-workers, family and friends to recognize retiring N.D. Park Rangers Dan Schelske and Maureen "Mo" Trnka in the chapel at the NDVC on March 17, 2021. Schelske and Trnka work at nearby Fort Abraham Lincoln and were honored for their years of support to the NDVC. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Officer)

N.D. National Guard Marks a Year of COVID-19 Response

The North Dakota National Guard marked its one-year anniversary of COVID-19 response operations in support of state and community health agencies on on March 16, 2021. (National Guard story by Bill Prokopyk, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

The ongoing COVID-19 support mission is the largest and longest state mobilization in North Dakota history. On Nov. 19, 2020, the North Dakota National Guard logged 67,495 personnel-days surpassing the previous record of 67,264 personnel-days recorded during response efforts in support of 2011 state-wide flooding. As of March 19, the N.D. National Guard has logged 98,865 personnel-days of support in this mission. Click for Flickr photos of N.D. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on COVID-19 support.

N.D. National Guard - One Year of COVID-19 Response

81st Civil Support Team Partners With Civilian Agencies

The 81st Civil Support Team (CST) recently partnered with Bismarck, Minot, and Grand Forks Bomb Squads for training, March 9-12, 2021. (U.S. National Guard story by OC Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Six members of the Special Programs Division (SPD) from U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground Utah, led the training scenarios for the 81st CST and their partners and was conducted at several locations in the Bismarck, N.D. area to include Fraine Barracks, N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility, and the Bismarck Aquatic and Wellness Center. The SPD is a unique blend of technical personnel that includes PhD-level physical scientists, chemists, engineers, and microbiologists, in addition to former civilian and military chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives operators. SPD specializes in the planning, execution, and analysis of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense) warfare defense systems and processes.

The training focused on Joint CBRN characterization, exploitation, and mitigation. This type of training assists the 81st CST in fostering and maintaining partnerships with civil authorities all across North Dakota.

Members of the Bismarck, Minot, and Grand Forks Bomb Squad and the 81st Civil Support Team undergo introductions during the Joint CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense) characterization, exploitation, and mitigation training, at Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, N.D., March 9, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Taylor Jensen of the Minot Area Bomb Squad demonstrates the squad’s equipment and capabilities during Joint CBRN characterization, exploitation, and mitigation training with the 81st CST, March 9, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)
Shawn Reis, Minot Area Bomb Squad, guides a bomb robot out of a truck during a capabilities demonstration, March 9, 2021, at Fraine Barracks. (U.S. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)
Members of the 81st Civil Support Team, Sgt. Domonic Delaney, left, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Hickel, work alongside civilian bomb technicians while identifying the CBRNE threats based on the scenario presented at an unused building on Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, March 10, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by OC Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)
Sgt. Elise Fettes, left, and Staff Sgt. Samuel Hemphill, both of the 81st Civil Support Team (CST), assess a laboratory set up for training by the members of the Special Programs Division at the N.D. Army Aviation Support Facility, March 11, 2021. The laboratory is assessed for its potential to produce chemical warfare agents, a scenario the CST may encounter during a mission. (U.S. National Guard photo by OC Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

81st Civil Support Team Training

Last Man Standing - 164th Infantry Regiment

There is only one National Guard WWII Soldier who served in the famed 164th Infantry Regiment remaining in North Dakota. Doug Burtell was one of 1,723 Soldiers of the regiment that mobilized in February 1941. (U.S. National Guard story by retired Lt. Col. Shirley J. Olgeirson, N.D. National Guard historian)

Burtell was only 16 when he joined the 164th Infantry Regiment in late 1940, never dreaming that he’d be dodging shells on a remote South Pacific island by the time he turned 18. Assigned to the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Section of regimental headquarters, he was trained to interpret aerial photographs, draw maps based on reconnaissance patrols, and analyze captured materials.

Burtell's natural ability to draw helped document the lives and activities of the 164th Infantry Regiment Soldiers as they bravely fought across the pacific ocean logging over 600 days in combat with the enemy from 1942 - 1945.

"Rope Ladder" by Doug Burtell'.

One of his sketches is featured on the Adjutant General’s new recognition coin. Maj. Gen. Dohrmann, adjutant general, presented the first coin to Burtell (virtually) with the assistance of Burtell’s daughter, Barb Conley, during a KFYR-TV Zoom interview on March 11, 2021.

Also participating in the Zoom interview with Maj Gen Dohrmann adjutant general, left, was retired Lt. Col. Shirley J. Olgeirson, N.D. National Guard historian. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

Adjutant General coin featuring Doug Burtell's sketch.
Original Adjutant General coin artwork by Doug Burtell.

Burtell will turn 97 years old in April. He has spent most of his life bursting with pride about his service with the 164th Infantry Regiment. The legacy of the 164th Infantry Regiment and its motto, “Je Suis Pret” (I Am Ready in French) remains an integral part of today's North Dakota National Guard culture and credo, and is reflected in our motto, Always Ready, Always There.

Doug Burtell, screenshot of KFYR-TV Zoom interview.

Click here to watch the news story with interview.

"Bougainville Patrol" by Doug Burtell

March is Women's History Month

Gov. Doug Burgum proclaimed March as Women's History Month. A huge shout-out and thanks to all of our sisters-in-arms, our Women military members and Veterans who are currently serving and have served our state and nation in uniform.

N.D. Guard Honors Park Rangers

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, co-workers, family and friends joined Fort Abraham Lincoln Park Manager Dan Schelske, and Park Ranger Maureen "Mo" Trnka for a retirement appreciation ceremony at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery (NDVC) chapel, Mandan, March 17, 2021. (U.S. National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Officer)

Trnka and Schelske have 39 and 38 years of service respectively with N.D. Parks and Recreation. They were recognized for their support to the NDVC with a certificate of appreciation and an Adjutant General coin. Their support over the years from nearby Fort Abraham Lincoln was critical to the success of annual events at the cemetery like the Memorial Day ceremony and Wreaths Across America. The NDVC is administered under the Office of the Adjutant General.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, prepares to hand Park Ranger Dan Schelske, a retirement appreciation certificate as Maureen Trnka looks on, at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, N.D., March 17, 2021.

Co-workers, family and friends watch a retirement appreciation ceremony at the chapel at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery on March 17.

Mastering the Army Master Leader Course

Sgt. 1st Class Laura Balliet, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, was recently named the Distinguished Honor Graduate at the Army Master Leader Course (MLC) conducted at Camp Williams, Utah. (National Guard story by Bill Prokopyk, North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs)

This course is intended to bridge the gap between the Senior Leader Course and the Sergeants Major Academy and is a component of the One Army School System. According to the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence, the Master Leader Course is designed to challenge and educate educate promotable and selected non-promotable Sergeants First Class in the areas of professional writing, communication skills, critical thinking, organizational and command leadership, management skills, and joint and operational level warfighting. Students either complete a distance learning course over six weeks or attend a 14-day resident course.

Balliet's resident course was conducted by the Utah Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 640th Regional Training Institute's Noncommissioned Officer Academy, March 4 to 18. There were more than 45 Army E-7s of almost every military occupational specialty (MOS) in the course from all three components (U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard) from across the nation.

Class photo of Army Master Leader Course 21-005. Sgt. 1st Class Laura Balliet, kneeling far right. Photo courtesy of 1st Battalion, 640th Regional Training Institute, Utah Army National Guard.
Front and back of the coin awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Laura Balliet for being named Distinguished Honor Graduate at her Army Master Leader Course (MLC) at Camp Williams, Utah, on March 18, 2021. "Tenere a Lineam" - Latin for "Hold the Line".

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