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TAG Line Oct. 9, 2020

Sgt. Brent Lafontaine inspects a jar while Sgt. Elise Fettes takes photos of old medical items discovered in the building housing N.D. Guard historical items during an exercise by members of the 81st Civil Support Team on Fraine Barracks in Bismarck, N.D. on Oct. 2, 2020. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland)

Historic Chemicals Become Exercise

A team who was inventorying and organizing historical items in a warehouse at Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, N.D., discovered a medical dispensary chest believed to be from the World War II era on Oct. 2, 2020. When the contents of this metal box revealed a weird odor, the historian asked the 81st Civil Support Team (CST) to investigate the contents. The CST used the opportunity as a real world exercise for their detection team. (U.S. Army story by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Sgt. Brent Lafontaine, left, and Sgt. Elise Fettes scan the area around a potential hazardous historical artifact on Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, N.D. on Oct. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Sgt. Brent Lafontaine scans a potentially hazardous historical artifact on Fraine Barracks, Oct. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

81st Civil Support Team members Sgt. Elise Fettes, left, and Staff Sgt. Chris Hickel watch Sgt. Brent Lafontaine test discovered medical chemicals during an exercise on Fraine Barracks in Bismarck on Oct. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland)

Sgt. Elise Fettes, 81st Civil Support Team, takes photos of old medical chemicals discovered on Fraine Barracks in Bismarck on Oct. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland)

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Keller, 81st Civil Support Team (CST), sets up a Dismounted strike kit during an exercise at Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, N.D. on Oct. 1, 2020. This disk provides NIPR (Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network) and commercial internet to the CST during missions and is functional anywhere in the world.

Hooligans Excel at Midpoint Inspection

The Happy Hooligans of the 119th Wing once again proved it’s a trained and ready force poised to successfully execute its missions during a recent Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI) at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., Oct. 2-4, 2020. An Air Combat Command (ACC) inspector general (IG) team, comprised of the team leader and 16 subject matter experts, evaluated 119th Wing unit members and their processes over the three-day inspection period.

A UEI is part of the overall Commander’s Inspection Program, which emphasizes self-assessment and focuses on four Major Graded Areas: Executing the Mission, Managing Resources, Leading People and Improving the Unit. The goals of the UEI program are to ensure units are mission capable, to help them improve their effectiveness and readiness to perform missions and to determine the effectiveness of strategic objective communication from unit leadership. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Col. Darrin Anderson, 119th Wing commander, left, greets Air Combat Command (ACC) Inspector General team chief Mr. David Hanaway at the in-brief for the 119th Wing Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, Oct. 2, 2020.

From right to left, Senior Master Sgt. Shane Amundson points out information as Lt. Col. Kevin Gaeu and Air Combat Command inspector Master Sgt. James Ryan look on during the 119th Wing Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., Oct. 3, 2020.

Senior Master Sgt. Sherry Gray, of the 119th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, right, answers questions asked by Air Combat Command inspector Master Sgt. Annamarie Wetsel during the 119th Wing Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, Oct. 2, 2020.

From right to left, 119th Force Support Squadron members Senior Master Sgt. Erica Carruth, 2nd Lt. Crystal Telling and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Andvik answer questions posed by Air Combat Command inspector Master Sgt. Michael Henry during the 119th Wing Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, Oct. 3, 2020.

Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Oscarson, of the 119th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, right, answers questions asked by Air Combat Command (ACC) inspector Master Sgt. Kory Kling during the 119th Wing Midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI) at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, Oct. 2, 2020.

FY-20 Recruiting and Retention Review

Both the Army and Air components of the N.D. National Guard saw successful recruiting and retention rates during Fiscal Year 2020. This is particularly of note due to the unique environment the COVID-19 pandemic thrust on our recruiters. While we pause momentarily to celebrate the achievements of our recruiting teams, command teams and Guardsmen that help place new members within our ranks, we realize that the manning of the force is a never-ending process of recruiting and retention. It's everyone's job to continually seek to improve the experience of our Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen with good training, jobs, mission opportunities, benefits and culture. Together, these advantages coupled with the hard work of our recruiters serve us well in ensuring the force is adequately manned.

The N.D. Army Guard began the fiscal year with an end strength of 2,954 Soldiers and a FY-20 goal to increase to 2,992 Soldiers. On Sept. 30, 2020, the command was pleased to announce that 2,992 Army Guard Soldiers were assigned to its ranks. The Army Guard met their end strength objective with a growth of 38 Soldiers, which was the second consecutive year for meeting or exceeding our end strength objectives.

Nathan Kramer, of Mandan, N.D. celebrates his enlistment into the N.D. Army National Guard on Aug. 31, 2020 at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Fargo, N.D. Kramer enlisted under the ROTC option.

The N.D. Air National Guard saw similar successes in its recruiting and retention efforts. The Recruiting and Retention team welcomed 119 new Airmen and received 109 unit referrals during the past fiscal year. The biggest success story within these achievements was the nearly 10 percent overall increase of personnel at the 219th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) stationed at the Minot Air Force Base, Minot, N.D. The 219th SFS also saw its number of drill status guardsmen climb over 50, which is the highest number in over six years.

1st Lt. Crystal Telling, 119th Force Support Squadron, administers the oath of office to new Airman Faith Smithers at the N.D. Air Base in Fargo, N.D. on July 24, 2020.

Master Sgt. Gregory Peterson inspects dress and appearance standards for members of the 119th Wing Student Flight on Oct. 3, 2020 at the Air National Guard Base in Fargo, N.D. These future Happy Hooligans participate in instructional briefings while waiting for their basic military training.

Top N.D. Army National Guard Recruiter for Fiscal Year 2020 - Staff Sgt. Andrew Tanata

The Director's Strength Maintenance Awards Program (DSMAP) Director’s 54 Award is given annually to the top ARNG recruiter in each of the fifty states. We are proud to share that North Dakota's FY20 Director's 54 recipient is SSG Andrew Tanata of Jamestown N.D. SSG Tanata has been exceptional not only in exceeding his assigned mission but also through his use of social media platforms.

COVID-19 Response Update

The emergency response to COVID-19 by the N.D. National Guard continues. This week, the number of man-days contributed supporting this pandemic mission surpassed response efforts during the 2009 flood. As of Oct. 8, N.D. Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been on COVID-19 duty for 211 days, administered over 187,000 COVID-19 tests and transported over 135,000 specimens to the N.D. state laboratory for evaluation. Almost 300 N.D. Guard members are on duty supporting COVID-19 response operations.

MSG Melanie Vincent: "Staying in the fight"

COVID-19 Testing in Bismarck

The N.D. National Guard administered about 450 COVID-19 tests at the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck, N.D. on Oct. 6, 2020. About 15 Soldiers conducted traffic control, collected testing data, administered tests and transported the specimens to the testing facility at the N.D. state laboratory. (U.S. Army National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Vehicles line up for mobile testing at the Bismarck Event Center, Bismarck, N.D. on Oct. 6.

Master Sgt. Melanie Vincent, N.D. Army National Guard's State Medical Detachment, foreground, and Pfc. Theresa Ebertz, 957th Engineer Company, administer COVID-19 tests at the Bismarck Event Center on Oct. 6, 2020.

Top left: Sgt. Thomas Schmidt, 818th Engineer Company, and Sgt. Nicole Jochim, 816th Military Police Company, collect information at the COVID-19 testing site at the Bismarck Event Center on Oct. 6. Right: Pfc. Theresa Ebertz, 957th Engineer Company, administers a COVID-19 test at the Bismarck Event Center. Bottom: Master Sgt. Melanie Vincent, N.D. Army National Guard's State Medical Detachment, administers a COVID-19 test at the Bismarck Event Center.

The Green Suit Professor - COVID 19 Modeling

1st Lt. Tom Hansen, 81st Civil Support Team, live-streamed a lecture with students from the University of South Carolina from Fraine Barracks in Bismarck on Oct. 7, 2020. His topic was assistance rendered in the development of a model that helps predict COVID-19 infection rates within the N.D. population. (U.S. Army story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Honoring A Life-time of Service

Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Phil Ehli and other volunteers help keep the green rolling lawns of the N.D. Veterans Cemetery beautifully manicured and trimmed. The cemetery staff alone would not be able to properly maintain the 70 acres of the facility without the efforts of dozens of dedicated volunteers, many of which are former members of the N.D. National Guard.

Ehli was honored by Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, and the staff of the N.D. Veterans Cemetery (NDVC) on Sept. 30, 2020. Specifically, Ehli was recognized for volunteering his time mowing the lawn at the cemetery over the past 28 years. After retiring from the N.D. National Guard in 1993 after almost 45 years of service, he immediately began volunteering at the newly established cemetery and was an original member of the mowing team. Dohrmann presented him a plaque and jacket designating his volunteer efforts. (Photo and story by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Phil Ehli and his wife Carolyn at the N.D. Veterans Cemetery Chapel on Sept. 30.

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