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TAG Line April 9, 2021

Top photo. Col. Jon Erickson, N.D. National Guard chief of staff, salutes after handing the U.S. Flag to Doug Burtell's daughter, Barb Conley, at the chapel of the N.D. Veterans Cemetery, April 8, 2021. Burtell, a World War II Veteran of the N.D. National Guard's 164th Infantry Regiment, was laid to rest with full military honors. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brett Miller, N.D. National Guard Visual Information)

Last 164th Infantry Regiment WWII Veteran Laid to Rest

The last World War II Veteran of the N.D. National Guard's famed 164th Infantry Regiment known to be residing in the state, was laid to rest at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery near Mandan, on April 8, 2021. (U.S. National Guard story by retired Lt. Col. Shirley J. Olgeirson, N.D. National Guard historian)

Doug Burtell of Bowman, N.D., passed away on April 3, 2021, and was rendered full military honors during internment services by the N.D. National Guard Funeral Honors. Members of Mandan's combined honor guard of Veterans of Foreign War Post #707 and American Legion Post #40 fired a rifle volley salute.

Members of Mandan's VFW Post #707 and American Legion Post #40 stand by to fire their weapons in honor of Doug Burtell during his interment services at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery on April 8, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

Family and friends of Doug Burtell watch thorough the windows of the chapel at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery as members of Mandan's VFW Post #707 and American Legion Post #40 execute a rifle volley in his honor during interment services on April 8, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brett Miller, N.D. National Guard Visual Information)

Members of Mandan's VFW Post #707 and American Legion Post #40 execute a rifle volley in Doug Burtell's honor during interment services on April 8, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

From left, 1st Lt. Daniel Geiger and Master Sgt. Travice Tesky, members of the N.D. National Guard Military Funeral Honors, fold the U.S. Flag that draped Doug Burtell's casket during interment services at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery, April 8, 2021. (National Guard photo by retired Lt. Col. Shirley J. Olgeirson, N.D. National Guard historian)

Col. Jon Erickson, N.D. National Guard chief of staff, hands a U.S. Flag to Doug Burtell's daughter, Barb Conley, at the chapel of the N.D. Veterans Cemetery, April 8, 2021. The flag was draped across Burtell's casket during his interment services. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brett Miller, N.D. National Guard Visual Information)

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.

Doug Burtell's artwork is featured on the N.D. adjutant general's new challenge coin, and he was presented the first one as a reward.

Doug Burtell's artwork is featured on the left side of the 164th Infantry Regiment Memorial at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery. (National Guard photos by retired Lt. Col. Shirley J. Olgeirson, N.D. National Guard historian)

The 164th Infantry Regiment Memorial at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery.

With Burtell's passing, only one other WWII 164th Infantry Regiment Soldier may still survive. Efforts by the 164th Infantry Association to locate Charles Bell in California have been unsuccessful. Bell was a member of the 164th Infantry Band.

Hooligans Conduct Joint Incident Awareness and Assessment Training

About 20 North Dakota Air and Army National Guard members participated in virtual Joint Incident Awareness and Assessment Training (IAA) course hosted by the National Guard Bureau (NGB) April 5-9, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing Public Affairs)

The course was originally planned to be in-person in Arlington, Va., but was instead adapted for online study due to the pandemic. About 30 Guard members from six different states participated virtually.

1st Lt. Becky Peterson, right, 119th Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group, coordinated the Awareness and Assessment Training training with the National Guard Bureau (NGB).

The training provided an increased understanding of how government agencies work together during domestic operations (DOMOPS) in response to man-made or natural disasters. DOMOPs includes response and support to wildfires, floods, hurricanes and civil disturbances.

Hooligan Airmen participate in Awareness and Assessment Training, April 8, 2021. at the N.D. Air National Guard Base in Fargo.
Hooligan Airmen participate in Awareness and Assessment Training, April 8, 2021. at the N.D. Air National Guard Base in Fargo.

According to the NGB, IAA synchronizes and integrates planning and execution of various federal, state, and local information capabilities to provide situational awareness to National Guard leadership and civil authorities in support of DOMOPs. The National Guard is part of a cooperative effort of these agencies utilizing IAA to respond to disasters with the goal of saving lives, mitigate suffering, minimize serious property damage and protect vital infrastructure.

Sharing Their Career

N.D. National Guard recruiters partnered with the Bismarck School District in hosting the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on the campus of Bismarck State College, April 6 and 7, 2021. The event allowed high school students the opportunity to explore careers fields the N.D. Guard offers. Soldiers who hold those jobs were present to discuss their experiences. Featured at the event were medical, military police, aviation, automotive mechanic, bridging engineering, communication and information and technology skill areas. (U.S. National Guard story, video and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Sgt. Douglas Eagon, left, and Pfc. Spencer Mattheis, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (1-188th ADA) demostrate a FIM-92 Stinger missile system during the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Sgt. Douglas Eagon discusses the FIM-92 Stinger missile system during the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Sgt. Samuel Zezeus, State Medical Detachment, N.D. Army National Guard, shows students how tourniquets are used while rendering first aid during the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Sgt. Memorie Andrade, left, and Sgt. Magdelana Masset, 816th Military Police Company discuss roles and responsibles of U.S. Army military police Soldiers during the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Spc. Samuel Wangler, left, and Sgt. Matthew Howell, 957th Engineer Company (Multi-role Bridge), shows students bridging equipment at the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Sgt. Matthew Howell, 957th Engineer Company, explains bridge boat operations during the Discover Career Fair at the Bismarck Career Academy on April 6, 2021.

Two Hooligans Lead the Way for Enlisted Aviators

Two Happy Hooligan sensor operators make N.D. Air National Guard history as they reach a significant milestone in their careers. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photo by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing Public Affairs)

These 178th Attack Squadron members, who will be referred to as instructor sensor operator (ISO) 1 and instructor sensor operator (ISO) 2, because of DoD privacy policy for pilots and sensor operators, are about to reach the 15 year ‘master level’ as career enlisted aviators (CEAs).

CEAs include flight engineers, aircraft loadmasters, flight attendant, airborne cryptologists, airborne mission systems operators (including sensor operators) and a few others. Enlisted aviators get their wings at the basic level, they add a star on top of the wings at senior level, and they add a wreath on top of the star at master level.

While the NDANG did have aircraft load masters in the past, it is very unlikely that any served in that role for the fifteen years required for the master level. This pair of Airmen began their path to master wings during a force structure change in the unit in 2006. DoD had recently completed the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process, which included a threat to move the organization to the Grand Forks Air Force Base, in what was justified as a potential cost savings. Later it was determined to keep the 119th Wing in Fargo.

Senior leaders was striving for relevant missions that would continue to keep the Happy Hooligans in a vital role. Many believed there was a tremendous future in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations, now referred to as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The Hooligans were well suited for this groundbreaking mission because of all of their aviation experience. Selected Airmen began to train for this mission even before the unit had officially been assigned aircraft, and it all began with four Happy Hooligans including ISO 1 and 2. They took a leap of faith with their careers.

“We dropped everything for 13 months without even knowing this (MQ-1 Predator at the time) aircraft would be our mission,” said ISO 1. It was the third career change for ISO 2, all within the NDANG. He was a drill-status Guard member in avionics for 18 years, and became a title 32 technician for 5 years before assuming his new role in the RPA mission. There's no doubt these Airmen were trailblazers in every way for the Hooligans that followed them. “We were the first and we had the worst living conditions, staying in the worst places, learning through trial and error so we could make it better for the rest,’ said ISO 2.

A sensor operator, right, and a pilot operate a remotely piloted aircraft in a ground control station at the N.D. Air National Guard launch and recovery element, located at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, Grand Forks, N.D., on Aug. 15, 2011. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing Public Affairs)

The RPA mission is very demanding for aircrew personnel. Their mission is a 24/7, 365 days a year operation, requiring coverage every weekend, overnights and holidays, balancing continuation training on top of their real-world combat tasking. “There’s a lot of extra stuff we have to do as aviators in order to be available crew members on a multi-million-dollar platform to help keep people safe on the ground,” said ISO 1.

They had no mentors in the NDANG to guide them in their RPA careers; so they learned the ropes on their own and now serve as mentors. The U.S. Air Force first allowed sensor operators to wear aviator wings in 2010, with many in the NDANG pinning them on for the first time in July that year.

Their flight time is impressive. ISO 1 has attained 2,258 MQ-1 Predator flight hours and currently has over 835 hours with the MQ-9 Reaper, while ISO 2 has 4,229 hours in the MQ-1 with over a 1,000 in the MQ-9.

U.S. Air Force enlisted Master Aviator badge as of April 10, 2021.

They were the first enlisted members in the NDANG to achieve "senior" aviation status, and now they will be the first to add the wreath around the star. “This is the capstone of an aviation career, showing we have done all that it takes to get to this point,” added ISO 1.

Air Defender Enlistment

Dawsyn Rusch of Mandan recently enlisted in the N.D. Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery (1-188th ADA). (U.S. National Guard story and photos by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, N.D. National Guard Visual Information)

Capt. Jon Storsved, S-4, 1-188th ADA, administered the oath of enlistment to Rusch who enlisted in U.S. Army military occupational specialty (MOS) of 14G, Tactical Center Operator. He will report to basic training at Fort Sill, Okla. August 2021. The ceremony took place near the unit's air defense equipment at the Raymond J. Bohn armory complex in Bismarck.

Dawsyn Rusch is flanked by U.S. Air Defense Artillery equipment during his enlistment ceremony at the Raymond J. Bohn armory complex on April 2, 2021. On the left is the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger and an AN/MPQ-64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar is on the right. Rusch enlisted into the Air Defense Artillery career field.

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