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TAG Line May 8, 2020

Supporting our Communities

N.D. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to support the citizens of North Dakota in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 with nearly 275 Guard members supporting whole-of community concept in the response. The Guard now operates two mobile testing teams partnering with the N.D. Department of Health (NDDoH) and other civilian agencies. Guardsmen provide traffic control, collect information and administer COVID-19 tests while participants are able to stay in their vehicles. This past week, mobile testing was supported in Bismarck, Fargo, Williston and Gwinner. The Guard continues to support all components of specimen testing within the NDDoH's microlab in Bismarck and conduct a myriad of other duties to include supporting other state agencies like the N.D. Department of Emergency Services and N.D. Job Services. Guard members are also assisting in the sterilization of long-term care facilities and contact tracing. Top photo: Lt. Col. Dwight Harley, in blue, and Senior Airman Kayla Dalquist, both of the 119th Medical Group, administer tests during COVID-19 mobile testing in the FargoDome parking lot on May 3 while National Guard Soldiers collect information from participants in the background.

Keeping Our Most Vulnerable Citizens Safe

Soldiers and Airmen of the N.D. National Guard donned protective masks, glasses and gloves and teamed up with a local contractor in cleaning and sanitizing a congregate living memory care facility in Fargo on May 1. The National Guard is committed to help the elderly residents of the facility stay safe as they are among the highest risk of health complications if they contract the virus.

N.D. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen walk from room to room wiping surfaces with sanitizing material as they assist in the ‘deep cleaning’ at a Fargo, N.D., congregate living memory care facility on May 1.

Maj. Louisa Harness, 119th Medical Group, right, directs Senior Airman Rachel McGrady, 119th Services Flight, as they assist in sanitizing a Fargo congregate living memory care facility on May 1.

Tech. Sgt. Haley Casler, left, and Airman 1st Class Lexi Thomas, clean a room at a congregate living memory care facility in Fargo on May 1.

Airman 1st Class Akexia Durkop, sanitizes a chair at a congregate living memory care facility in Fargo on May 1.

Airman 1st Class Josh Carlson, right, and Master Sgt. Tiffany Jasmann wipe furniture with sanitizing materials at a Fargo congregate living memory care facility on May 1.

Master Sgt. Tiffany Jasmann, 119th Services Flight, right, points out areas for attention as N.D. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assist a local, contracted company in sanitizing a Fargo congregate living memory care facility on May 1.

Bismarck Mobile Testing

On May 2, about 660 COVID-19 tests were administered in the Bismarck Event Center. Members of the 81st Civil Support Team along with Soldiers from the 191st and 816th Military Police Companies teamed up with the N.D. Department of Health and local agencies to test participants in their vehicles.

N.D. National Guard military police provide traffic control inside the Bismarck Event Center ensuring maximum efficiency in data and test specimen collection on May 2.
Sgt. Chase Bode (left) and Spc. Isaac Bolton of the 816th Military Police Company collect information from participants at the mobile COVID-19 testing inside the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck on May 2.
Spc. Scott Melbarzdis, 816th Military Police Company, works alongside a member of the Bismarck Fire Department at the COVID-19 mobile testing site in Bismarck on May 2.

Guard Conducts Two Mobile Testing Sites on Same Day

N.D. National Guard members had a busy day on May 3, supporting two mobile testing locations simultaneously. Mobile testing team-west along with nine local public health agencies conducted a mobile testing site in Gwinner, while mobile testing team-east conducted testing in Fargo. Guard Members provided traffic control, data collection and administered test specimens.

Pfc. Timothy Yoder, left and Sgt. Grant Schafer explain the mobile testing site process to a participant in Gwinner on May 3.

Pfc. Lacey Urlacher works with a local public health worker collecting patient data at he mobile testing site in Gwinner on May 3.

Spc. Carter Strand, left and Pfc. Samuel Honeyman direct traffic at the Gwinner mobile testing site on May 3.

Spc. Brian Goulet, 191st Military Police Company, hands forms out for data collection during mobile COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of the FargoDome on May 3.

Senior Airman Kayla Brooks, in yellow, and Maj. Chad Brooks, both of the 119th Medical Group, collect test samples during mobile COVID-19 testing in Fargo on May 3.

Capt. Laura Schmidt, 81st Civil Support Team (CST) carries a box of testing swabs at the mobile COVID-19 testing site in Fargo on May 3.

Members of the community line up for mobile COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of the FargoDome on May 3.

Guard Supports Williston Mobile Test Site

Members of the N.D. National Guard's mobile testing team-west teamed up with the N.D. Department of Health and local health officials in administering nearly 425 tests to Williston residents on May 4.

Soldiers from the N.D. National Guard collect information from participants at mobile COVID-19 testing in Williston on May 4.
Soldiers of the 816th Military Police Company provide traffic control and handout information packets for participants of the mobile COVID-19 testing site in Williston on May 4.

Spc. Isaac Bolton collects data at the COVID-19 mobile testing site in Williston on May 4.

Pfc. Regan Hartwig works alongside local health volunteers collecting testing participants' information at the COVID-19 mobile testing site in Williston on May 4.

Col. Brian Keller collects a COVID-19 test sample using an oral swab in Williston on May 4.

COVID-19 Testing in Dickinson

Processing the Task Force

Members of the 68th Troop Command, 131st Military Police Battalion and other staff worked together to transfer approximately 120 Soldiers and Airmen from state funded active duty to Title 32 federal duty on May 1 at Raymond J. Bohn Armory in Bismarck. These personnel actions supports readiness by ensuring Guard members can move from one duty status to another without pay interruptions. In Fargo, the 142nd Engineer Battalion helped transfer 70 Guardsmen in similar manner. Later on the same day, the Bismarck team traveled to the Army Aviation Reserve Center to conduct Soldier Readiness Process (SRP), a thorough annual records assessment, for about 65 members of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment.

Top, 1st Sgt. Joey Wesson, operation training section (G-3), reviews the personnel record of Sgt. Colton Bosch, 816th Military Police Company, during his transfer from state to federal duty status in Bismarck on May 1. Bottom, Staff Sgt. Laura Hocking, 68th Troop Command, makes corrections to a Soldier's personnel record during SRP (Soldier Readiness Process), a thorough annual records assessment conducted for 65 members of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment.

Army Unmanned Aerial System

The training area of the Camp Grafton Training Center - South, near Devils Lake provides an excellent place to operate small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS). Instructors with the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI) conduct proficiency flights in order to prepare equipment and themselves to train students on the RQ-11B Raven SUAS. The Raven is an U.S. Army reconnaissance asset available at the company level for overseeing the battlefield.

From left: Staff Sgt. David Merkley watches the camera feed (mission command) of the RQ-11B Raven SUAS proficiency flight from the back seat of a M1097 HMMWV on May 4 at Camp Grafton Training Center - South. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Schmidt launches a Raven, and later pilots the aircraft he just launched.

Thoughts on Serving

The N.D. National Guard continually reaches out to our communities during the COVID-19 epidemic. Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to live up to the motto of “Always ready, Always there” whenever called upon. In was in this spirit, that two Soldiers were asked by a television reporter to describe their thoughts about serving in the National Guard during this pandemic.

Left, Capt. Justin Huber, Commander of the 816th Military Police Company, shares his thoughts with Bismarck's KX Net News reporter Nikiya Carrero about his service with the N.D. National Guard during COVID-19 response efforts on May 6 at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. Maj. Preston Schaffner, Physicians Assistant, 81st Civil Support Team, is also interviewed by Carrero.

National Day of Prayer

Maj. Ann Willoughby, Labor and Employee Relations Specialist for the N.D. National Guard, participated in N.D.'s National Day of Prayer on May 7. The annual event, held in the N.D. Capitol's Memorial Hall, was offered virtually this year due to COVID-19. Willoughby gave a prayer for U.S. military members and Veterans.

Left, Maj. Ann Willoughby stands by waiting for the ceremony to begin. Willoughby offers a prayer for U.S. military members and Veterans.
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