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TAG Line March 12, 2021

Top photo: Col. Mitch Johnson, left, accepts the unit colors from Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, officially recognizing him as the incoming commander of the N.D. National Guard’s 119th Wing, March 6, 2021. Johnson assumed command from Col. Darrin Anderson, far left, who has served as the 119th Wing commander since Aug. 4, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Baardson)

Happy Hooligans Welcome new commander

The North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, known as the “Happy Hooligans”, welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony held at the Air National Guard base in Fargo, on March 6, 2021. (U.S. National Guard story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Baardson, 119th Wing)

Col. Darrin Anderson relinquished command to Col. Mitch Johnson. Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. National Guard adjutant general, presided over the ceremony. A change of command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority from one officer to another and is witnessed by members of the unit.

Outgoing 119th Wing commander, Col. Darrin Anderson, left, and incoming commander, Col. Mitch Johnson.

Anderson began his military career in 1983 when he enlisted in the N.D. Air National Guard as a Security Specialist. He was commissioned in February 1995 at the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science and served in a myriad of assignments with the 119th Wing. These assignments included serving as an intelligence officer, and various aircraft maintenance positions and a tour as deputy commander of the 119th Maintenance Group. Anderson commanded the 119th Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group prior to assuming command of the 119th Wing on Aug. 4, 2018. Anderson is a 1987 graduate of North Dakota State University, and a 2012 graduate of the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Throughout his time as the 119th Wing commander, Anderson oversaw the successful execution of continuous federal missions while supporting the longest running domestic emergency response in the history of the North Dakota National Guard- the global pandemic of COVID-19. The Wing earned its 21st and 22nd Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards during his tenure as commander.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, right, N.D. adjutant general, presents Col. Darrin Anderson the Legion of Merit for his achievements as commander of the 119th Wing.

Johnson began his career in the U.S. Air Force when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1997 from the U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 400 at Michigan Technological University. He was selected for an Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Civilian Institution Program and earned his Master’s Degree in 1998. Upon completion of pilot training, Johnson served in multiple flying assignments with the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Education and Training Command (ATEC) and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) during his 12 years of active duty service in the U.S. Air Force. He has commanded at both the group and squadron level, piloted tactical airlift, special operations attack and remotely piloted aircraft worldwide and is credited with overseas service on six deployments. Johnson commanded the 119th Operations Group and was the vice commander of the 119th Wing prior to assuming command.

Col. Mitch Johnson addresses members of the 119th Wing moments after assuming command.

HOOLIGANS EARN 22nd AIR FORCE OUTSTANDING UNIT AWARD

The North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, known as the Happy Hooligans, formally accepted the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) for the 22nd time during a ceremony at their Fargo air base, March 6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photo by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp)

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general, placed the award on the 119th Wing’s colors, commending the Hooligan Airmen for their exceptional service and mission accomplishment which contributed to this high-level recognition. The AFOUA is awarded by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force to numbered units of the active-duty Air Force, U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement, including successful involvement with combat operations or exposure to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.

Col. Darrin Anderson, 119th Wing commander, holds the unit's flag as Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, attaches a streamer representing the 22nd Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) during a ceremony at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann attaches the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) as Col. Darrin Anderson holds the unit’s colors as Chief Master Sgt. Duane Kangas, left, N.D. Air National Guard state command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Andvik, 119th Wing command chief, look on. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Baardson, 119th Wing)

The recent award period was for achievements rendered from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019, in which the 119th Wing successfully executed combat and expeditionary support operations to multiple commands by activating over 165 Airmen to locations around the globe. Notable accomplishments include over 10,000 combat hours flown resulting in successful degradation of enemy networks; the 119th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group continuing to lead the Air National Guard through its 456 percent increase in target production output; and the 219th Security Forces Squadron facilitating a 98.7 percent sortie alert rate while safeguarding $3.3 billion in U.S. Strategic Command nuclear assets.

The Hooligans previously earned the award in 1971, 1973, 1979, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

2020 N.D. Air National Guard Year in Review

Airman presented Keeble Award for Heroism

Gov. Doug Burgum presented N.D. National Guard's Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award during a ceremony at North Dakota Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Baardson)

Fontaine, of the Minot Air Force Base-based 219th Security Forces Squadron, earned the Keeble award for his participation in the rescue of 91 year-old Dolores Paulson. Paulson, a patient, was trapped in an ambulance that slid off U.S. Highway 83 and was sinking in a frozen pond the night of Nov. 28, 2019.

Gov. Doug Burgum, pins The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award on Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fountaine, left, while Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, center, and Col. Darrin Anderson, 119th Wing commander, look on, at the N.D. Air National Guard base in Fargo, N.D. on March 6, 2021.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fountaine, 219th Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

The Keeble award is a n.D. national Guard award NAMED IN HONOR OF MASTER SGT. WOODROW “WOODY” WILSON KEEBLE, A N.D. NATIONAL GUARDsman who WAS AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR POSTHUMOUSLY on MARCH 2, 2008.

Keeble is the most decorated Soldier in N.D. National Guard history. He served in the 164th Infantry Regiment in World War II and with the 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War when he earned the medal of honor.

Keeble's Medal of Honor citation.

Gov. Doug Burgum, right, holds The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award presented to Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fountaine, left, while Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, looks on at the N.D. Air National Guard base in Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021.

Hooligan Airmen of the Year

The N.D. Air National Guard, nicknamed the “Happy Hooligans”, recognized the organization’s top enlisted Airmen of the year on March 6, 2021, during its 2020 Airman of Year recognition ceremony. The event was held at North Dakota Air National Guard Base Fargo, N.D. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Airmen were nominated for this recognition based on their military achievements and community service throughout 2020. Awards were presented for Outstanding Airman of the Year; Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; and Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Additional recognition was presented for Unit Career Advisor of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year.

N.D. Air National Guard enlisted award winners from left to right, Tech. Sgt. Kally Anderson, Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Richard Gladue, Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; and Airman 1st Class Laura Biewer, Outstanding Airman of the Year.

Outstanding Airman of the Year – Airman 1st Class Laura Biewer.

Biewer enlisted in the n.d. Air National Guard in 2017 and serves as an aerospace medical technician in the 119th Medical Group.

Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Tech. Sgt. Kally Anderson.

Anderson joined the n.d. Air National Guard in 2011 and serves as an aerospace medical technician in the 119th Medical Group.

Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Master Sgt. Richard Gladue.

Gladue joined the n.d. Air National Guard in 2010 and serves as A flight chief in the 119th Security Forces Squadron.
Tech. Sgt. Tyler Smith, Unit Career Advisor of the Year, waits to be recognized while members of the official party stand behind him during the Airmen of the Year recognition ceremony at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021.
Master Sgt. Lisa Narum, First Sergeant of the Year, waits to be recognized while members of the official party stand behind her during the Airmen of the Year recognition ceremony at the N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021.

Hooligan airmen at the recognition ceremony

The N.D. Air National Guard Airmen of the Year for 2020 were recognized at a ceremony at the Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021. From left to right, Airman 1st Class Laura Biewer, Tech. Sgt. Casey Schroeder, Senior Airman Gabriel Icenhour, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine, Staff Sgt. Roman Knudsvig, Airman 1st Class Keegan Link, Master Sgt. Richard Gladue, Master Sgt. Nathan Sather, Tech. Sgt. Keifer Hinrichs, Master Sgt. Jack Berning, Senior Airman Jhon Cerna, Tech. Sgt. Damian Dankert, Tech. Sgt. Kally Anderson, and Master Sgt. Nathan Carlson. Master Sgt. Tyrel Cale was not present.

Signal Soldiers Train in Marksmanship

Twenty-four Soldiers of the Fargo-based 426th Signal Company completed Primary Marksmanship Instruction (PMI) conducted by the Joint Force Headquarters Small Arms Readiness Team (SART) at their Inactive Duty Training (IDT) weekend, at the Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center, Feb. 27 - 28, 2021. The Soldiers were tested at the beginning of the weekend for COVID-19 using the BinaxNOW test. (U.S. Army National Guard story and photos by Capt. Connor Kelley, 426th Signal Company)

The SART reviewed familiarization of the new weapons qualification tables and conducted training using the Laser Marksmanship Training System (LMTS), commonly known as the beam hit. The advantage of the LMTS is that it allows Soldiers immediate feedback on their marksmanship fundamentals and can be used when ranges, ammunition, and travel are limited. Marksmanship training improves lethality, a critical military skill.

Sgt. 1st Class Allan Peterson, left, Joint Force Headquarters Small Arms Readiness Team, assists Spc. Andrew Geigle set up his laser mounted on his M4 Carbine during marksmanship training on Feb. 27, 2021.Soldiers of the 426th Signal Company conduct marksmanship training with M9 pistols. From near to far, Cadet Denis Duku, Spc. Alexander Yee, Spc. Lyle Pedlar, Staff Sgt. Michael Bauder and 1st Sgt. John Pitsiladis on Feb. 27, 2021.

Soldiers of the 426th Signal Company conduct marksmanship training with M9 pistols. From near to far, Cadet Denis Duku, Spc. Alexander Yee, Spc. Lyle Pedlar, Staff Sgt. Michael Bauder and 1st Sgt. John Pitsiladis, Feb. 27, 2021.

Spc. Savannah Christianson stabilizes her m4 carbine on a barricade replicating a shooting position in the new individual weapons qualification course on Feb. 27, 2021.

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Brandon Grindall lines up his sights during marksmanship training, Feb. 27, 2021.

Women's history month recognition

Army Guard Aviation Soldiers Recognized

Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. deputy adjutant general, recognized several N.D. Army National Guard aviation Soldiers with awards during the N.D. Army National Guard's annual Safety Conference, Raymond J. Bohn armory, Bismarck, N.D., on March 7, 2021.

Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber pins an Air Medal on Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian L. Thorson, Detachment 42, Operational Support Airlift, March 7, 2021.

Thorson earned the award for his achievements as a fixed-wing aviator at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti during operation Freedom Sentinel-Horn of Africa, June 2018 to september 2018.
Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. deputy adjutant general, presents Flight Safety Awards to Sgt. 1st Class Sean Knodel, left, readiness non-commissioned officer, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, and Maj. Steve Inglish, flight surgeon, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, during the N.D. Army National Guard's annual Safety Conference in Bismarck, N.D., on March 7, 2021. The Soldiers were recognized for five years of aviation service without a Class A, B or C accident.
Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, N.D. deputy adjutant general, presents the Thomas Mitchell Award to Sgt. 1st Class Nate "Tito" Doll, left, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, and 1st Lt. Caleb Hamilton, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, at the Raymond J. Bohn armory. Bismarck, N.D., on March 7, 2021. One officer and one non-commissioned officer are recognized annually for exceptional performance while serving in N.D. Army National Guard aviation. The award is in honor of a retired N.D. Army Guard Aviator, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas Mitchell, who was killed in a civilian aircraft accident in 2010.

Aviation Senior Class Visit

Sgt. 1st Class John Hoefer, N.D. Army National Guard recruiter, brought two groups of high school seniors from Bismarck High School to visit the Army Aviation Support Facility in south Bismarck on March 8, 2021. The students were given a guided tour of the facilities and aircraft by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shelby Nelson, a pilot with the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment. The tour informs students about National Guard Army aviation, their missions, and how they can assist their communities during national disasters or emergencies. (U.S. Army National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shelby Nelson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, center, discusses the capabilities and features of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with Bismarck High School students at the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility on March 8, 2021.

Bismarck High School students tour the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility's UH-72A Lakota helicopter hanger in Bismarck, N.D., on March 8.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shelby Nelson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, discusses the capabilities and features of a UH-72 Lakota helicopter with Bismarck High School students at the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility on March 8.

Bismarck High School students tour the at the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility on March 8.

Sgt. 1st Class John Hoefer, N.D. Army National Guard recruiter, talks to group of Bismarck High School seniors during a tour of the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility in Bismarck, N.D. on March 8, 2021.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shelby Nelson discusses aircraft capabilities and features at the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility on March 8.

Aviation Adds Mechanic

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shelby Nelson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Battalion, administers the oath of enlistment to Kelsie Hildebrand while her parents hold the U.S. flag at the N.D. National Guard's Army Aviation Facility, March 8, 2021. HILDEBRAND enlisted to become a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic in the n.D. army National Guard.

First N.D. Army Guard Cyber promotion

Andrew Stein, non-commissioned officer in charge of the 174th Civil Support Team, was promoted to staff sergeant during the unit's drill at Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, N.D., March 6, 2021. This is the N.D. Army National Guard's first promotion for a Soldier serving in a cyber unit. (U.S. Army National Guard story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

The commander of the 174th Civil Protection Team, 2nd Lt. Nigel Helley, promotes Andrew Stein, non-commissioned officer in charge of the 174th Civil Support Team, to the rank of staff sergeant.
Sgt. Andrew Kessel uses his phone to live stream the ceremony for Andrew Stein's family while 2nd Lt. Nigel Helley, 174th Civil Protection Team commander, promotes Andrew Stein to the rank of staff sergeant, March 6, 2021.

VA Administers COVID-19 Vaccine at Guard armory in Bismarck

The Veterans Administration (VA) sponsored a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Veterans at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, N.D., on Mar. 11, 2021. This was the second of two shots provided by the VA. Over 800 Veterans and their spouses were vaccinated. (U.S. Army National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Top photos: Veterans and their spouses receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, N.D., on Mar. 11, 2021. Bottom photo: Todd Remington, left, Readjustment Counselor and C.J. O'Berry, Veteran Outreach Specialist, were providing information about the Bismarck Vet Center at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck, N.D., on Mar. 11, 2021.

Fargo Vet Center Dedication

Brig. Gen. Todd Branden, N.D. assistant adjutant general - Air, and Maj. Lucas Klettke, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, helped dedicate the Vet Center in Fargo, N.D., Feb. 26. 2021. The Vet Center moved from their previous building to a new location, 5622 34th Ave South, Fargo. There are four Vet Centers in North Dakota (Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks) that provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to all veterans who served in any combat zone and to current and former members of the N.D. National Guard regardless of combat service. Services are also available for their family members for military related issues. (U.S. Air National Guard story and photos by Senior Master Sgt. Danelle Card, 119th Wing)

Brig. Gen. Todd Branden, center, helps raise the first U.S. Flag dedicating the Fargo Vet Center, with staff member Mike Jordheim while Maj. Lucas Klettke, left. watches, Feb. 26, 2021.

Brig. Gen. Todd Branden, center right, and Maj. Lucas Klette pose with staff members outside of the newly dedicated Fargo Vet Center, Feb. 26.

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