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TAG Line AUgust 23, 2019

Best Warrior Competition

Seventeen Army National Guard Soldiers from across the state pushed through physical and mental challenges to try to outscore their fellow competitors during this year’s Best Warrior Competition Aug. 15-18 at Camp Grafton Training Center.

Winner of the Best Warrior Competition in the Non-Commissioned Officer category is Sgt. Joao Valenzuela, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. In the Soldier category, honors go to Spc. Grant Schafer, 816th Military Police Company. Click to view more photos. Top photo: Valenzuela rappels during Best Warrior Competition on Aug. 18.

N.D. State Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Lien briefs Soldiers competing in the Best Warrior Competition on Aug. 15.

Competitors from the North Dakota National Guard Best Warrior Competition begin the day with a six-mile foot march at Camp Grafton Training Center-South on Aug. 16.

Spc. Joshua Voigt navigates the Camp Grafton Training Center obstacle course during the Best Warrior Competition on Aug. 17.

Sgt. Joao Valenzuela competes in the NCO Board Competition as part of the Best Warrior Competition on Aug. 15.

Spc. Luis Cruz-Luquis fires the M9 Pistol as part of the 3-Gun Shoot competition during the Best Warrior Competition on Aug.16.

Spc. Zach Fischer deadlifts weights during the Army Combat Fitness Test during Best Warrior Competition on Aug.15.

Spc. Emma Hoover prepares to throw a medicine ball during the Army Combat Fitness Test during Best Warrior Competition on Aug. 15.

We Will Never Forget Remembrance Weekend Heals, Bonds Families

Top left: Capt. (Retired) Janet Nitschke works with a young family member on a creative problem solving activity. Top right: We will Never Forget Remembrance Retreat group photo. Bottom: Brenda and Ed Deckard light a candle in honor of their son.

On Aug. 9-11, seventeen families spent time together during the 4th Annual We Will Never Forget Remembrance Retreat in Mandan. The event featured guest speaker Dr. Tanya McCoss-Yerigan from Granite Falls, Minn. She shared her story of loss and provided the attendees with tools to help build resiliency and work through grief. Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jon Wymer, State Chaplain and Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general were present for the weekend in support of the families. Throughout the weekend, the kids were able to participate in fun activities that allowed the families to learn about grief, share their stories, remember their loved ones and enjoy time with a new family, “a family they never wanted to be apart of, but are grateful they have."

Army Officer Candidate School Graduation

The North Dakota Army National Guard's Officer Candidate Class (OCS) Class #62 graduated three candidates on Aug. 17 at Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC). Two of the candidates, Joseph M. Clift, Corps of Engineers and Elliot J. Olerud, Military Police, accepted their commissions during the ceremony. The third member of the class, 2nd Lt. Samantha E. Hansen, Air Defense Artillery, has already accepted her officer commission and is currently attending her Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Sill, Okla. OCS is an important source of commissioned officers for the Army National Guard.

Maj. Benjamin Barille (right), OCS Company Commander, helps 2nd Lt. Joseph Clift (center) retire the OCS Class #62 guidon at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony.

OCS Class #62 graduate Joseph M. Clift, has his new 2nd lieutenant rank placed on his shoulders by his wife Cameron Clift and his father Joseph Clift.

Brig. Gen. Leo Ryan (center), N.D. National Guard Army Commander, administers the oath of office to new 2nd lieutenants, Joseph Clift (right) and Elliot Olerud during OCS Class #62 graduation.

OCS Class #62 graduate Elliott Olerud, has his new rank placed on his shoulders by his wife Lexi Olerud and his father Neil Olerud.

Army Leaders Join OCS Candidates in Road March

Five candidates (center in helmets) from Officer Candidate School class #63 along with Army National Guard leaders and OCS cadre, complete a 9-mile foot march on Aug. 17. Candidates must carry minimum of 30-35 pound packs and complete the course in less than 153 minutes. The foot march is designed to challenge the candidates physical fitness.

Civil Support Team Exercises Chemical Detection Team

The Guard's 81st Civil Support Team (CST) conducted a small-scale exercise on Aug. 22 to keep their skills sharp. Using their storage building on Fraine Barracks, the CST entered the area as if it had been attacked by chemical agents. The CST cleared the building and then successfully detected the simulated agent. On standby around the clock, and capable of responding within 90 minutes, CSTs are highly-specialized units that are trained and equipped to assist civilian first responders when reacting to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive agents. The 81st CST regularly trains with local, state and federal agencies during emergency response training exercises.

Staff Sgt. Mitch Dwyer uses a chemical agent tester to determine the type of chemical agent present. The CST has the mission of chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear agent detection.

Unsung Heroes of Annual Training

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment conducted their 2019 Annual Training earlier this month at Camp Grafton Training Center. All Service members will agree that good food always boosts morale. Napoleon Bonaparte is widely credited with the saying "an army marches on its stomach." The mess personnel assigned to our Air Defenders are second to none.

Top left: Spc. Jaden Klotz (left) and Pfc. Ceyenne Walton prepare a meal in the Combat Kitchen during the 1-188th Air Defense Artillery's 2019 Annual Training (AT) period. Top right: Pfc. Frank Gourd Jr. prepares a meal as part of the Field Feeding Section. Bottom: Sgt. Logan Tandsater and Sgt. Nathaniel Nelson prepare a steak dinner for the Air Defenders during their 2019 AT.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 6-8: Retiree Weekend at CGTC

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ND National Guard Public Affairs Office
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116th Public Affairs Detachment