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The North Dakota National Guard Guardian is published quarterly; March, June, September and December. It replaces the TAG Line for that week.

Top photo: N.D. National Guard Sgt. Memorie Andrade, 816th Military Police (MP) Company, stands in formation outside of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. About 130 Soldiers from the 816th MP Company along with more than 25,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from throughout the country traveled to the nation’s capital to provide support to federal and district authorities leading up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Happy Hooligan Trailblazer Woman of ‘Firsts’

In honor of March, Women's History Month

By Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing

Charlotte Schmitz enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in April 1951, and was honorably discharged because of marriage in 1953. After a 20-year break in service, she joined the North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) on Sept. 12, 1973, and retired as a master sergeant on June 13, 1991. She is credited with 20 years and 16 days of military service and was the first woman to earn a 20-year retirement from the NDANG, and likely, among the first from the U.S. Air Force.

Charlotte Schmitz holds her enlistment document as she joins the U.S. Air Force, April 1951. (Courtesy photo)
When Charlotte joined the Happy Hooligans the N.D. Air National Guard had 11 enlisted WAFs (Women in the Air Force) among their ranks, led by Airman Paula Toay, the first female to directly enlist in the NDANG April 1972. Toay, right, and Airman Pam Miller, stand on the flightline near a McDonnell F-101 Voodoo at the N.D. National Guard air base in Fargo, N.D. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. Everett Brust, 119th Fighter Wing)
A 1951 Fargo Forum article reported; “Charlotte J. Schmitz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Schmitz, enlisted in the Women’s Air Force (WAF) and expects to be sent to San Antonio, Texas, for her basic training. Miss Schmitz has been a member of the Civilian Air Patrol for over two years. She was attending North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) in Fargo and is a candidate for Queen at the Military ball being held Friday evening. She is a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.”

Pfc. Charlotte J. Schmitz excelled at her training and jobs throughout her NDANG career as evidenced by her technical school. She was a Radar Mechanic – Airborne Equipment and earned the distinction of honor graduate for Course 30250 at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., on Nov. 16, 1951.

Charlotte Schmitz works with radar equipment.

Maj. Gen. James Powell, 3380th Technical Training Wing commander, wrote on her honor graduate certificate, “you have been selected as the outstanding student in your class. Your desire to learn and the efficient manner in which you employed your time as a student is to be commended. Your conduct as an Airman won for you the respect of those who worked with you in your training period. Congratulations and my best wishes in your future assignments. I know you possess the necessary qualifications to be a credit to the military service in any assignment which you may receive.”

Charlotte married fellow U.S. Air Force Veteran Gayle Anderson in 1953 but had to separate from the service because married females were not allowed to serve in the military at the time. Together, they had six children, including Brig. Gen. (select) Darrin Anderson, who would also serve in the NDANG commanding the 119th Wing from August 2018 to March 2021. Anderson was recently selected to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general and will soon serve as the North Dakota National Guard assistant adjutant general for Air.

Charlotte and son Brig. Gen. (select) Darrin Anderson. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

Charlotte re-married in April 1975, this time to U.S. Army and WWII Veteran John Lutjens, adding five step-children to the family. Two of her sons joined the Happy Hooligans and one daughter served in the active duty Air Force.

“She was quietly proud regarding her many firsts. We heard stories about her being the first female letter carrier working for the post office in the Valley City, N.D., and the only female engineering student in her class at North Dakota State University (then NDAC). She wasn’t able to complete her college education but our family is so proud that she joined the Air Force and served during the Korean War. She had the tenacity and foresight to enlist in the N.D. Air National Guard (NDANG) to complete her military career,” said Anderson about his mother. “She’s the one who convinced me to join to get help paying for college. Without her encouragement I may have never joined the NDANG,” said Anderson. Anderson’s wife Barb also earned a retirement from the NDANG, concluding her career at the rank of senior master sergeant as a member of the 119th Force Support Squadron.

Charlotte earned recognition during her military career, including the Air Force Commendation Medal in 1984, and completed the command noncommissioned officer academy in December 1986, making her eligible for her eventual retirement at the rank of master sergeant. She secured her 20-year retirement and was discharged just two days prior to her 60th birthday.

Master Sgt. Charlotte Lutjens receives the Air Force Commendation Medal from Col. Paul Knox at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., 1984.

“I like the people I’ve met, I enjoyed the education. They’re (fellow Guard members) a great family,” she said at her retirement.

Retired Master Sgt. Charlotte Lutjens sits among fellow N.D. Air National Guard retirees at a 1992 recognition event in Fargo, N.D.

“She believed in serving her country and always saw the bigger picture. My sister was a clinical psychologist who once told me she tested mom’s I.Q., using the phrase, “a beautiful mind”. I don’t recall the final number but let’s just say it was pretty high on the scale. Mom knew the long term benefits of locking down a military retirement, especially the Tricare benefit (health insurance). It saved her many thousands of dollars in medical bills over the years,” said Anderson.

“My mother joined the Air Force almost 70 years ago when there were so many restrictions in place. Women are now eligible to serve in all Air National Guard career fields, and we have many working in aircraft maintenance today. It’s inspiring that she was one of very few females serving in avionics in the early 1950s,” said Anderson.

U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 845 in July 1956, which opened the door for Capt. Norma Parsons to become the first woman to join the Air National Guard when she enlisted as a nurse serving in the 106th Tactical Hospital, New York Air National Guard on Aug. 1, 1956. Members of WAF (Women in Air Force) were often limited to clerical and medical careers, and also encountered restrictions on promotions and retirement rights. This changed in 1967 when President Johnson signed Public Law 90-130. In 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced all occupations in the US military would be open to both men and women.

COVID-19 Support milestones

By Bill Prokopyk, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office

On March 24, 2021, the North Dakota National Guard reached the 100k milestone in personnel-days logging 100,022 worked in support of the COVID-19 response efforts.

Domestic Operations Personnel-Days as of March 26, 2021.

On March 16, 2021, we observed the one-year anniversary of when our National Guard joined North Dakota’s ‘whole-of-government' response to this pandemic. Our dedicated and professional Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen were able to provide this high-level of support state-wide because of the support they’re provided by our Families, employers and communities.

Photos depicting COVID-19 response support by Airmen and Soldiers of the N.D. National Guard. (Photo collage by Bill Prokopyk, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

Civil support team Evaluation

By Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

In March, U.S. Army North's (ARNORTH) Civil Support Training Activity (CSTA) conducted collective lanes training and a training proficiency evaluation for the N.D. National Guard's 81st Civil Support Team (CST). This agency provides training and readiness oversite for the 54 state-based Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams. The 81st CST is evaluated every 18 months to ensure their readiness to respond to real-world events.

Staff Sgt. Samuel Hemphill, 81st Civil Support Team, tests an unknown substance during an evaluation exercise led by U.S. Army North at Raymond J. Bohn armory, Bismarck, N.D., March 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photos by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Sgt. Elise Fettes, 81st Civil Support Team, secures her equipment from the cart their evaluation by 1st U.S. Army at Raymond J. Bohn armory, Bismarck, N.D., March 24.
Sgt. Elise Fettes, left, and Officer Candidate Brent Lafontaine, 81st Civil Support Team, survey the inside of a jeep during an evaluation exercise led by U.S. Army North, Bismarck, N.D., March 24, 2021.

Officer Candidate Brent Lafontaine, 81st Civil Support Team, scans a classroom for chemicals as evaluation officials from US Army North watch during an exercise in Mandan, N.D., March 22, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photos by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Officer Candidate Brent Lafontaine, left and Sgt. Elise Fettes, 81st Civil Support Team, takes a photo of a suspicious locker during an exercise in Mandan, N.D., March 22, 2021.
Members of the 81st Civil Support Team clean each other of contaminants while an evaluation official from US Army North looks on during an exercise in Mandan, N.D., March 22, 2021.

State Tuition Assistance at the Tribal Colleges

By Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

In February 2021, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) in New Town, N.D., became the fifth and final Tribal College in North Dakota to sign an agreement between the college and the North Dakota National Guard (NDNG). The agreement allows students attending the college, who also serve in the North Dakota National Guard to receive North Dakota State Tuition Assistance (NDSTA).

“It’s been a long-term goal to do this. We finally got it across the finish line and now we’re looking forward to getting students the funding and support that they need. It’s another program to make education more accessible,” said Dr. Twyla Baker, president of NHSC. “We want to be supportive of what our students are doing and if they choose to serve, we want to honor that.”

Photo: Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. National Guard deputy adjutant general, left, and Dr. Twyla Baker, president, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, discuss the memorandum of agreement between the college and the N.D. National Guard regarding state tuition assistance, Newtown, N.D., Feb. 16, 2021.

The other Tribal Colleges that previously signed the agreement are Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, and United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in Bismarck. UTTC was the first Tribal College to sign a STA agreement with the NDNG in May 2019.

“American-Indians have the highest rate of enlistment in the military. I believe most of that is due to our warrior societies and our cultural beliefs,” said Dr. Leander McDonald, president of UTTC. “It has really been helpful, I think, to encourage those that are serving in the National Guard to come to school. We see that happening within the N.D. University System, but we need to have that happening with the Tribal Colleges and Universities, especially with our high enlistment rates.”

The agreement between the NDNG and Tribal as well as other private colleges is similar to the agreement between the NDNG and the schools in the N.D. University System. The NDSTA program functions in two parts; begins with a school agreeing to waive part of the student’s tuition; and the National Guard reimbursing the remainder to the Guard member upon successful completion of each semester through the state budget. N.D. state schools participate in the program by law, but the addition of private and Tribal Colleges expands the opportunities for N.D. Guard Soldiers and Airmen to attend their college of choice.

Pvt. Garrell Little Jr. started attending UTTC in the fall of 2019. He enlisted into the NDNG in January 2020 and serves in the 131st Military Police Battalion. For him, being able to attend a Tribal College and have them accept NDSTA reduced a lot of stress allowing him to have greater education goals. “I’m going for my associate's degree right now, but I’m also thinking of a bachelor’s or another degree,” said Little Jr. “If it wasn’t for serving in the National Guard and receiving tuition assistance, I don’t think I would be as far as I am.”

As more Soldiers and Airmen use NDSTA, the more support the program needs. North Dakota has always supported the men and women who join the Guard and serve their state. “If we have more Soldiers and Airmen attending college, that will obviously increase the cost of our program. We’ve always had excellent support from our state legislature,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lee Bushaw, N.D. National Guard education services officer. "The mission of our education office is to assist all Soldiers and Airmen who wish to access the education benefits they are entitled to."

With the recent additions of these colleges, the NDSTA program also helps foster relationships between the N.D. National Guard and the Tribal Nations within the state. “The hospitality and the gratefulness we experienced during our visits, along their willingness to cooperate in taking care of our Guard members is just phenomenal,” Bushaw added. “I think it’s a great opportunity for Soldiers and Airmen.”

For information about NDSTA contact the NDNG education services office at (701) 333-3064.

Mission to the Nation's Capital

By Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers from the North Dakota National Guard (NDNG) traveled to Washington, D.C. to support the 59th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. The National Guard has participated in every inauguration since George Washington assumed duties as the first president of the United States, April 21, 1789. They joined more than 25,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from throughout the country.

Guardsmen with the 816th Military Police (MP) Company, supplemented by about 60 Soldiers from the 191st MP Company and six staff members of the 131st Military Police Battalion, began preparations for the mission at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, N.D. on Jan. 13, 2021. Once the unit was assembled, equipment gathered, orders processed and mandatory briefings received, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, spoke with the Soldiers.

On Jan. 15 and Jan. 16, 2021, three C-130 Hercules aircraft, operated by the Texas Air National Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing, transported the N.D. Guard Soldiers from the Bismarck Airport to Joint Base Andrews, in Md. Flight time was about four and half hours.

Photo - Soldiers of the 816th Military Police Company head toward the C-130 Hercules aircraft that would transport them to Joint Base Andrew, Md., Jan. 16, 2021. (U.S. Army National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Ashley Johlfs, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

This military police unit specializes in crowd control and civil disturbance response in support of civilian law enforcement authorities. In the past few years, the North Dakota National Guard has activated its military police units several times to capitalize on their abilities. As a result, many Soldiers had the hands-on experience needed for this mission.

The N.D. National Guard, in conjunction with Montana and Rhode Island Army National Guard military police units, partnered to train over 1,000 Guardsmen from Guam, Kansas, Michigan, and Vermont in civil disturbance response measures. Most of the Soldiers trained were not military police and had never participated in a civil disturbance response mission. The training focus on crowd control and how to maintain control if a disturbance breaks out. Training included how to form a crowd-control line, maneuver as a group, how to properly employ the transparent shield for crowd control and self-defense, as well as how to use a baton to dissuade attacks.

Soldiers with the 816th Military Police Company train with Kansas National Guard Soldiers in the proper use of crowd control shields, during civil disturbance response training in the parking lot of FedExField in Landover, Md., Jan. 18, 2021. (Photo by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

“These Soldiers have been challenged over the last year with many different situations,” said Capt. Justin Huber, commander, 816th Military Police Company. “To have this many motivated Soldiers volunteer to do perform these challenging missions is just top-notch. I think it says something about our National Guard, our Armed Forces, and our emergency responders as a whole.”

On the day of the inauguration, the 816th Military Police Company served as a stand-by force. The unit staged at a distance from the Capitol, ready to deploy in minutes to support first-line defense units if the need arose.

As the day of the inauguration came and went, the N.D. Guard Soldiers dutifully performed their missions, helping to ensure the peaceful transition of authority.

Photo - Spc. Andrew Doss looks through a temporary barrier while providing security near the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2021. (Photo by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

The following day, the 816th Military Police Company moved to its next mission, conducting presence patrols around the Thomas Jefferson building, one of the four buildings of the Library of Congress. Presence patrols maintain security and are a non-aggressive way to dissuade attacks or any other illegal activity. The Soldiers worked in shifts, resting inside the Thomas Jefferson building between shifts.

Sgt. Garret Reineke, left, and Spc. Dominique Jungels, conduct presence patrol operations near the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2021. (Photo by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

The N.D. Guard Soldiers conducted security missions until Jan. 23, 2021. when they received orders to return home. The Soldiers departed Joint Base Andrews by military aircraft on Jan. 24, 2021.

A C-17 Globemaster from the West Virginia Air National’s 167th Airlift Wing returned 90 Soldiers while an Arkansas Air National Guard C-130 Hercules transported another 40 home to Bismarck.

Photo - 816th Military Police Company Soldiers deplane a C-130 Hercules at the Bismarck Airport near the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility, Jan. 24, 2021. (Photo by Bill Prokopyk, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

This successful mission saw the North Dakota Soldiers live up to the U.S. Army Military Police motto - "Assist. Protect. Defend." Altogether, about 150 N.D. National Guard Soldiers, including 20 members of the 81st Civil Support Team, served in the nation’s capitol during the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

Training Future Officers

By Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office

The N.D. Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the Camp Grafton Training Center near Devils Lake, N.D., prepares enlisted Soldiers to earn commissions as officers in the N.D. Army National Guard. The course provides a fast moving, high stress, challenging learning environment, both mentally and physically. The cadre, or training staff, believe it's important to cultivate OCS students in a controlled military-mindset climate.

Officer candidates from OCS Class #65 participate in an Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test, Camp Grafton Training Center, March 19, 2021.

Maj. Nicolette Daschendorf, company commander and senior platoon trainer of the N.D. Army National Guard Officer Candidate School says, "our staff does an amazing job with all the candidates. We create an environment that is demanding but teach the students that great leaders truly care for their Soldiers. We don’t require the impossible at OCS, we first teach and then test and we strive to build on the leadership and character attributes individuals already possess. “

Officer candidates are challenged to manage their time, develop their resources, make good decisions and effectively lead the Soldiers in their charge.

Master Sgt. D.J. Rohrich, OCS first sergeant: "From the non-commissioned officer (NCO) perspective, our goal is to continually stress the importance of the officer - NCO relationship. Our officer candidates need to learn that the NCOs are the backbone of their units and a great relationship between a platoon leader and the platoon sergeant builds trust and confidence within that platoon. The success of that relationship will spread to your Soldiers and they will emulate that professionalism. I challenge NCOs and Soldiers to step outside their comfort zone and learn more about our OCS program and consider applying.

Photo - Officer candidates of Class #64 prepare to head to the barracks at the end of a training day, Camp Grafton Training Center, March 19, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Capt. Corey Arnold, platoon trainer, Officer Candidate School)

Officer candidates of Class #64 fold the U.S. Flag during retreat at Camp Grafton Training Center, March 20, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photos by Capt. Corey Arnold, platoon trainer and executive officer, N.D. Army National Guard Officer Candidate School)

Officer candidates prepare to take the Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test, Camp Grafton Training Center, March 19, 2021.
Daschendorf, “I take great pride in our experienced staff. Our Cadre has over 200 years of military service with multiple overseas and domestic deployments. Many of them have served as company commanders and first sergeants. Our staff constantly challenge themselves to improve individually and collectively so we can provide the best training and mentorship to our candidates. We are always looking for officers, NCOs and warrant officers who have a passion for developing future leaders. If you enjoy teaching and training, becoming a member of our OCS cadre could be a great fit for you."

Photo - Capt. Corey Arnold, platoon trainer and executive officer, N.D. Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, grades officer candidates during the Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test at Camp Grafton Training Center on March 19, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Is Officer Training Right For You?

Command Team: The OCS program is not a course that you can just show up to and simply ‘check the block'. There are many critical components that must be mastered in order to successfully complete the course and earn an officer's commission. Officer candidates must work diligently with each other to create a team and hold each other accountable to be successful. They must be able to effectively communicate, exercise initiative, be in good physical condition, be motivated to learn and possess a strong desire to lead Soldiers. We are extremely confident in the candidates we send to other schoolhouses for different phases of OCS training because we know that we’ve provided everything needed to be successful, and more. With the completion of OCS, candidates will earn the right to becoming a commissioned officer in the N.D. Army National Guard.

For potential officer candidates. It's hard to know if OCS is a good fit without gathering sufficient information in order to make an intelligent decision. Start your journey by learning about the program. Speak to your chain of command or the officer strength manager to discuss OCS opportunities. For more information contact Warrant Officer 1 Richard Blumler at 701-809-4338.

Officer candidates from OCS Class #65 participate in an Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test, Camp Grafton Training Center, March 19, 2021.

Sharp Curriculum Conference

By Erica Davidson, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, N.D. National Guard

Army Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) training is an annual requirement for all Soldiers. Every year the N.D. National Guard's SHARP program assembles victim advocates from around the state to build new, engaging, interactive training. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are topics that can be difficult to broach. The training meets the Department of Defense’s mandated talking points and brings awareness to the SHARP programs services.

Photo - The SHARP Curriculum Committee met at the Raymond J. Bohn armory on March 22, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Over the years, the training has shifted its focus to primary prevention by teaching bystander intervention techniques and strategies to create cultural change, which can help stop the violence before it even begins. The training has also brought increased awareness to topics such as male sexual assault, current events surrounding sexual violence, as well as domestic violence.

Fiscal Year 2021’s annual SHARP training received overwhelming positive feedback. After action reports indicate that 99% of participants reported being satisfied with their overall experience. This report helps shape next year's training.

Some of the positive feedback included:

  • “The SARC/VA team does a great job in updating training every year so it is a little different”.
  • “One of the best done briefs on the subject. I have been in over 12 yrs ”.
  • “You guys have been doing awesome with staying relevant and keeping people engaged".
The SHARP Curriculum Committee meets at the Raymond J. Bohn armory on March 22, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

With the help of feedback from Soldiers as well as commanders, Fiscal Year 2022’s training will be unlike any SHARP training so far. The training will gain maximum participation while taking the audience through the reporting process as a survivor of sexual assault.

ND House Appropriations Visit

By Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office

Col. Tad Schauer, right, N.D. National Guard's director of Domestic Operations, speaks with N.D. State Representatives during a tour of the Joint Operations Center at Fraine Barrack, Bismarck, N.D., March 23, 2021.

Members, staff and interns of the North Dakota House Appropriations - Government Operations Division Standing Committee visited the N.D. National Guard in Bismarck, N.D. on March 23, 2021. This committee oversees House Bill 1016an appropriation for defraying the expenses for the office of the adjutant general. The purpose of the visit was to provide a first-hand experience of N.D. National Guard members, facilities and equipment, while gaining a better understanding of the Guard's missions and operations.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joey Wesson, right, Joint Operations Center non-commissioned officer in charge, discusses the N.D. National Guard's COVID-19 support missions with N.D. State Representatives in Bismarck, on March 23, 2021.

Diversity and Inclusion Corner

By Robert Roehrich, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager

Its Management Directive 715 (MD-715) reporting season. Did you know that federal agencies report their demographic data up through Congress? One might wonder why do we do this, and the answer is Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Government strives to be a leader in the hiring of underrepresented populations, and by reporting and conducting an analysis the agency is able to see how they compare to other agencies in their region (North Dakota and/or central plains) and in comparison to demographic trends. It is not an indicator that the agency must hire a specific demographic group, but it does help us look for unintentional barriers that may be preventing one group from attaining employment with the agency.

The N.D. National Guard does not single out individual groups or people by name, however we are able to extract broad data that tells us how diverse our agency is from a demographic standpoint. Through this data and an assessment of the agency, we are able to identify shortcomings, and potential barriers that may exist for any one particular demographic group and it also helps the agency confirm that we living up to a model Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

It’s important to know that race and culture are just one aspect of diversity. It’s good to remember that essentially everything about us and everything we do is related to some diversity trait that makes us unique from others. We look forward to sharing some of this year’s data with our readers, once it is complete.

The N.D. National Guard celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. On Jan. 20, 2021, the N.D. National Guard along with other federal and state agencies, observed Martin Luther King Jr. day. There are various other observances such as “King Day of Service, Civil Rights Day", etc., and it’s a time for all federal and state employees to stop and reflect on a time in America’s history where civil rights were not guaranteed to all of citizens due to systematic barriers.

February marked the federal observance of Black History Month. The N.D. National Guard has historically held speaking engagements, provided its members with education material, and encouraged employees to volunteer in honorarium of these two observances. Due to current restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been limited on what activities we are able to provide our staff, but we try to stay relevant and creative in our messaging.

Happy Women’s History Month! March is designated as Women’s History month. It is recognized internationally as well and many States including North Dakota also designate March it as “Women’s Veterans Month”.

The N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office in partnership with the Diversity and Inclusion Executive Committee, has used social media to feature exceptional Women within our agency during the month of March.

Be sure to check out and “like” the N.D. National Guard Facebook page to view all of the women featured.

Save the Date. Last year, the N.D. National Guard scheduled our first ever “Women’s Leadership Summit”, but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone the event. We are happy to announce that we have rescheduled the summit for July 22, 2021 in Bismarck. At this time, attendance is limited to N.D. National Guard members and employees. Also, it’s important to note that this summit is not exclusively for women. Please check out our N.D. National Guard Women’s Leadership Summit Facebook page for additional information about this event.

We look forward to providing you another update in the next Guardian. Until then, please remember diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice and belonging is having that voice be heard. I hope that we can all have a sense of belonging in this great organization.

Chaplain's Corner

Gratitude?

By Chaplain (Capt.) Chad O. Gion, 164th Engineer Battalion – Minot, ND

Thank God, spring is here-ish. While this winter was not as brutal as others we have experienced, the advent of spring is always a relief. There is inevitably a sense of new beginnings. In between the threats of hypothermia/frost bite in the winter and dehydration/heat stroke in the summer, for a time in the spring, nature presents itself as a kindly friend with whom to spend long hours.

Part of what makes a North Dakota spring so great is that it is so short. Sometimes it feels like a day or two. The greening of the trees, the smell of wet earth, and the heat of the sun in the cool air are all distinct spring pleasures. When you know that you will only have the pleasure of something for a brief time, it is much easier to be appreciative. I am more grateful for the spring because it is short.

It is strange that, the longer we experience a certain pleasure or joy in life, the more we are inclined to take that pleasure for granted. How great would it be if every day could be like the first days of spring? Or to feel constantly how you felt on the day you fell in love with your spouse or significant other? The new will always become the familiar. It does not have to become commonplace. Especially those things that truly strengthen and sustain us, like close friendships, prayer, and meaningful work. People, places, and things that bring us joy can remain cherished through one simple action: GRATITUDE.

Gratitude is not simply a spontaneous emotion experienced when overwhelmed by some good turn of events. Gratitude is a choice. And how does one choose gratitude? It is simple. Every day take some time and say thank you to God for those gifts you have in your life. Especially on the days when you are not feeling the gratitude.

Photo: Chaplain (Capt.) Chad O. Gion and his dog, Hoke.

The time to foster the habit of gratitude is now, not when things get hard. An idea: before your feet hit the ground in the morning, take five minutes and say thanks. When Annual Training begins, that habit can already be firmly in place. Money back guarantee that this one little exercise can change your day and who you are in it. A reading on GRATITUDE and being thankful – Philippians 4:4-7.

North Dakota Cares Update

N.D. Cares and National Guard Help Coordinate Veterans COVID-19 Vaccinations

By Michelle Gauvin-Panos, Director, N.D. Cares

N.D. Cares and Military Outreach representatives were pleased to assist the coordination efforts between the Fargo VA Health Care System and the N.D. National Guard to hold COVID-19 vaccination events for North Dakota veterans. The first vaccination clinic was conducted at the Minot at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Feb. 3, 2021, where over 600 veterans received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Veterans returned to Minot for their second dose approximately 28 days later. Other clinics were hosted at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, Camp Grafton Training Center, near Devils Lake, and the armories in Dickinson and Grand Forks. Veterans will return to those facilities for their second doses.

Photo - Veterans wait to be vaccinated at the Minot Armed Forces Reserve Center, Minot, N.D., Feb. 3, 2021. Photo courtesy of Veterans Administration.

Military Outreach representatives Kelli Weiand and Nikki Frohlich, and members of the National Guard coordinated the setup of the facilities prior the arrival of the VA medical vaccination team at each location. Location setups consisted of a registration station, a pharmaceutical counseling area, several vaccination stations and a post-vaccination observation area.

Service Member and Family Support (SMFS) provided services such as benefits information and Veteran identification card renewals. Even though two of the vaccination events took place at non-National Guard facilities in Jamestown and Williston, Military Outreach and SMFS offered support. N.D. Cares coordinated the facility use agreements between the National Guard and Department of Veterans Affairs. To date, over 10,000 veterans have been vaccinated in the Fargo VA catchment area, that consists of North Dakota and 17 counties in northwest Minnesota.

National Medal of Honor Day

March 25, 2021

By retired Col. Pete Conlin, former N.D. National Guard Historian

March 25 is National Medal of Honor day, as approved as Public Law 101-564 by the 101st U.S. Congress in November 1990. This day was chosen as the date of official observance because the first six Medals of Honor were awarded on that date in 1863 to members of Andrews’ Raiders for their actions during the Great Locomotive Chase , a raid that destroyed an key Confederate railroad supply line between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Nine Soldiers of the 1st N.D. Volunteers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions in the Philippine-American War. Here are the narratives of those battles.

Paete, Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 12, 1899 – The Second Battalion of the 1st N.D. Volunteers, led by Maj. John H. Fraine, was moving out to Pueblo de Paete. Upon reaching a roadway lined by cliffs, the battalion, acting as the advance guard, had been fired upon. One squad from Company C was almost wiped out, with four of five Soldiers killed. The battalion responded by charging a hill, using volley fire and drove the enemy from the area. The regiment suffered five Soldiers killed and two seriously wounded. Of these, four were the sharpshooters from Company C of Grafton, N.D. This squad was to the extreme right of the advance and after the first volley, only Pvt. Thomas Sletteland was alive. He took up a good position and covered the bodies of his comrades with fire, keeping the enemy from securing their rifles and ammunition belts. This act of bravery earned him the Medal of Honor.

San Miguel de Mayumo, Luzon, Philippine Islands, May 13, 1899 – A group of scouts and reconnaissance Soldiers named for civilian W. H. Young who organized them into an elite force called "Young's Scouts", encountered the enemy at San Miguel de Mayumo, who had taken up a good defendable position. Although initial estimates numbered the enemy at about 300, a later count placed enemy soldiers at closer to 600. Without waiting for support from the battalion, a squad of 10 scouts following their leaders, Young and Pvt. James Harrington (Company G, Second Oregon) charged the enemy line, running a distance of 150 yards. According to Capt. William Berkheimer of the Third Artillery, the enemy line wavered, and then reluctantly gave way and was driven from San Miguel. Young was fatally wounded in this skirmish. Three N.D. scouts Cpl. Frank L. Anders; Pvt. Willis H. Downs; and Pvt. Gotfred Jensen received the Medal of Honor for their heroism in the charge.

San Isidro, Luzon, Philippine Islands, May 16, 1899 – On the road to San Isidro, marching ahead of the column, "Young’s Scouts" noted the bridge crossing the Tarbon River was on fire. Aquinaldo’s crack regiment of 1st Manila Regulars was entrenched across the river. The scouts advanced in skirmish line, and found the river too deep to ford. A rush was made across the burning bridge, which by this time was so weakened that Cpl. Thomas (Company K) fell through into the river. The enemy was driven out and suffered a loss of twelve men killed and six wounded. The scouts suffered one man killed, Pvt. Harrington (Company G, Second Oregon). Lt. Thornton, who led the scouts during this battle for the bridge, recommended 23 men for the Medal of Honor. Five scouts who were members of the 1st North Dakota Volunteers Pvt. Otto Boehler; Pvt. Charles P. Davis; Pvt. John B. Kinne; Pvt. Richard M. Longfellow and Pvt. Frank F. Ross would eventually receive the nation's highest decoration for valor.

From left, Pvt. John B. Kinne, Pvt. Gotfred Jensen, and Pvt. Thomas Sletteland.

The actions on the bridge over the Tarbon River by Young's Scouts on May 13, 1899 is commemorated in a painting by Donna Neary called "Soldiers in the Sun".

Honoring our Vietnam Veterans

Remembering and honoring those who served during the Vietnam War. North Dakota joins a grateful nation in celebrating their service on Monday, March 29, 2021.

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