Sgt. Nathan Johnson of the “Battle Rattle” quintet comprised of members of the 188th Army Band from Fargo, performs pre-ceremony music before the start of the annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 27.
Retired Brig. Gen. Al Palmer served as the keynote speaker at the annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 27.
Veterans groups participate in the annual Memorial Day ceremony with color guards details.
Tradegy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Celebrates 25 Years.
Nearly 2,500 people gather in Arlington, Va. to take part in an annual event hosted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, also known as TAPS. The Arlington-based nonprofit hosts military and Gold Star families for its National Military Survivor Seminar every year over Memorial Day Weekend. The mission of TAPS is to honor our men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America by caring for all those they loved and left behind.
Proud parents, supporting spouses, little sisters, big brothers, soulmates, and best friends all attend this event to connect with other people who have the same or similar stories of sacrifice and grief. It is here they realize, they have become a family due to heartbreaking circumstances and maybe it’s not the family they want to be in, but now that they are they are thankful they have each other.
North Dakota sent 23 individuals to Washington D.C. this year. This includes four staff, six mentors, and 13 family members who have all lost a loved one that served our nation.
Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment Departs for National Training Center
Memorial Day was a bit different for Soldiers from Charlie (C) Battery, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. On May 27 Soldiers departed for The National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Calif. Seventy-six Soldiers will participate in a NTC rotation in support of the 116 Calvary Brigade Combat Team. This rotation marks the culminating training event for C Battery concluding nearly a year of preparation. NTC is the Army's premier training center designed to prepare Soldiers for combat with the most realistic and demanding training as close to war as it gets. C Battery will train on its warfighting mission providing early warning of air threats and air defense to the 116 Calvary Brigade Combat Team. The Battery will be at NTC until mid-June.
Task Force Mind Hosts Annual Summit
On May 30, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann hosted the annual Task Force for Military Issues in North Dakota (TF MIND) Summit at the N.D. Regional Training Institute on Camp Grafton Training Center. The summit serves as an opportunity to bring representatives from the state's military organizations together with various stakeholders to discuss and develop issues that impact service members, veterans, families, and survivors (SMVFS) across the state. Attendees included representatives from NDNG Army and Air National Guard, Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases, Navy Reserve, a military spouse, multiple retirees, ND Dept. of Veterans Affairs, ESGR, ND Cares, VETS, ND Dept. of Public Instruction, ND Human Services, various civilian representatives from Military Affairs Communities and the DoD Defense Liaison Officer that covers ND.
After informative tours of the RTI facility and Camp Grafton Training Center the group spent the afternoon discussing and prioritizing issues that have a statewide impact. The number one issue identified was access to and availability of Mental and Behavioral Health resources, primarily for dependents. An associated issue identified is what many service members have experienced dealing with the insurance coverage of MH/BH treatment options as well as the TRICARE dental plan.
Other topics that were discussed included Vets Courts, retaining in state tuition for military dependents, early student enrollment, child abuse and neglect reporting, and some recreational improvements to support service members. All of the issues will be further developed and followed up with the necessary and appropriate engagement plan that will allow the group to address these issues through policy or legislation in a way that best meets the needs of the SMVFS and that makes sense for North Dakota.
The N.D. Veterans Cemetery's Columbarium
The North Dakota Veterans Cemetery is planning to add a new option for cremation burials. A columbarium will be built to house cremated remains above ground. This ambitious project, scheduled to be ready as soon as next summer, will provide above ground niches for 1,800 cremated remains. The construction will happen in phases, the first phase will be the circular phase, that will have an eternal flame in the center. The anticipation is that this will offer cremation burial space for 15-20 years. Grants for the funding of this project have been applied for through the National Cemetery Administration. As the columbarium nears capacity, the plan is to apply for another grant for an additional phase. The project is expected to cost approximately $1.3 million. These above ground cremation burials will be placed in niches, that will be marked with a bronze niche cover. The cemetery will still offer underground cremation burials for those that wish for the upright granite headstone, the columbarium will provide Veterans and their families one more burial option at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.
Amber Alert Test
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) conducted an annual statewide “Amber Alert” test on May 23. AMBER or America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response alert system tested all components of the system except for the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) which is sent to mobile devices. Advanced notification was provided to avoid misinterpretation as an actual AMBER Alert.
AMBER Alerts are recorded on the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) 511 road and weather information system and displayed on the NDDOT roadside message signs, NDResponse web page and at North Dakota Lottery terminal locations. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to prompt the community to assist in the search for and safe return of an abducted child. The program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement, state agencies, the National Weather Service (NWS), and the North Dakota Broadcasters.
Association to activate various systems in child abduction cases meeting AMBER Alert criteria. NDDES, in collaboration with the NWS, uses the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to provide a description of the abducted child, suspected abductor, and vehicle to statewide radio and television stations. AMBER Alerts are also automatically sent through WEA to mobile devices.
Command Logistics Review Team
The Command Logistics Review Team (CLRT) inspected logistics management within the North Dakota Army National Guard on May 20-24. Ten areas were inspected. Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss (FLIPL) (management, GPC Management, Installation Maintenance Management, Surface Repair Parts Management, Mobilization Logistics Management, Unit Maintenance Management, SSA Management, Property Book Management, Property Management/Excess and Central Issue Facility Management. The CLRT team, escorted by personnel from the J-4, inspected select units and maintenance facilities. They received a Satisfactory rating with an overall score of 92%, and 5 of the 10 areas received noteworthy (greater than 94%) ratings. In addition to inspecting for deficiencies and annotating trends within the state, the CLRT provided the N.D. Army National Guard full time staff with training as well as business practices.