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TAG Line July 16, 2021

Photo: Colonel Benjamin Cleghorn, commander of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, fires his M9 pistol during the General George S. Patton Match portion of the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center South firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 11, 2021. (National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match

The 119th Wing alpha team took top honors for the fifth year in a row at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match held July 7 to 11, 2021, at the Camp Grafton Training Center firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota. This annual competition highlights the best marksmen in the N.D. National and improves Soldier and Airman lethality, an important military skill. (National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Photo: These Happy Hooligans from the 119th Wing finished as the top marksmanship team at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match. From left to right Staff Sgt. Tyrel Hoppe, Staff Sgt. Hunter Martineau, Staff Sgt. Josh Renville, and Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook.

Staff Sgt. Evan Messer, of the 815th Engineer Construction Company, was the top open class individual shooter, and Pfc. Christopher Sagers, of the 816th Military Police Company, was the top novice class individual shooter. 76 Soldiers and Airmen participated on 18 teams, with 39 novice shooters. The match included ten scored M9 pistol and M4 rifle events.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Evan Messer waits to fire his weapon at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match, July 11, 2021.

Senior Master Sergeant Wade Swenson, 119th Wing marksmanship team program coordinator, prepares to shoot an M4 rifle on the range at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center South firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 9, 2021.

Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook, a member of the 119th Wing Alpha Team, prepares to fire his M4 rifle, July 9, 2021. Rook is a member of the first place 119th Wing alpha team and placed second in the individual overall scoring. He is one of five current shooters from the state that have earned the distinguished marksmanship badge in both rifle and pistol.

During this marksmanship competition the N.D. “Governor’s Twenty” tab, which recognizes the top 20 percent of the match participants, was presented for the first time. This tab can be worn on the service uniform within the state and at national-level marksmanship competitions.

The "Governor's Twenty” tabs for N.D. Army (top) and Air National Guard members.
Fifteen shooters earned the “Governor’s Twenty” tab. The N.D. National Guard Airmen: Senior Master Sgt. Brian Rook, Senior Master Sgt. Wade Swenson, Staff Sgt. Josh Renville, Staff Sgt. Tyrel Hoppe, Staff Sgt. Hunter Martineau and Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook. The N.D. Guard Soldiers: Col. Benjamin Cleghorn, Command Sgt. Major Joseph Wesson, Sgt. 1st Class Grant Semchenko, Staff Sgt. Evan Messer, Sgt. Tyler Goldade, Sgt. Andrew Maley, Sgt. Tanner Coauette, Spc. Levi Harrington and Pfc. Christopher Sagers.
N.D. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen run into position to fire M9 pistols during the General George S. Patton Match portion of the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center South firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 11, 2021.

Three shooters were awarded U.S. Army combat excellence in competition badges, which earn them four leg points toward Distinguished Marksmanship Badges. The Distinguished Marksmanship Badges are awarded in recognition of an excellent degree of achievement with the service rifle or pistol.

Sergeant Andrew Maley, 817th Engineer Company (SAPPER), aims an M9 pistol as he prepares to fire at a target at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 9, 2021. Maley is one of five current shooters from the state that have earned the distinguished marksmanship badge in both rifle and pistol.

Staff Sgt. Evan Messer, 815th Engineer Construction Company, fires his M4 pistol from a kneeling position at the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 11, 2021. Messer is the top individual marksman in the 2021 contest. He is one of five current shooters from the state that have earned the distinguished marksmanship badge in both rifle and pistol.

Captain Blake Hillerson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, and Sgt. 1st Class Grant Semchenko, N.D. Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, earned the excellence in competition badge, bronze, for pistol. Specialist Levi Harrington earned the excellence in competition badge for pistol.

According to the Civilian Marksmanship Program website, “the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and the Distinguished Pistol Badge were created by the War Department in 1884 and 1891 respectively to recognize and reward members of the US Army for Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) with the service rifle and service pistol. The Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot Badges are the highest honor that most military and civilian rifle and pistol shooters can earn.

Only 1,041 shooters have earned the distinguished shooter badge in both rifle and pistol since its inception in 1884. They are Staff Sgt. Evan Messer, Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook, Staff Sgt. Tyrel Hoppe, Sgt. Goldade and Sgt. Andrew Maley.

“In the state of North Dakota, we have some of the top marksmen in the Military. We have Soldiers and Airmen that shoot all over the world on the All-Guard team and that starts right here,” said Col. Benjamin Cleghorn, COMMANDER, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade .

Colonel Benjamin Cleghorn, commander of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, prepares to fire his M9 pistol during the General George S. Patton Match portion of the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 9, 2021.

Brig. Gen. Robert Schulte, N.D. National Guard chief of staff for Air, left, presents the top shooter coin to Staff Sgt. Evan Messer, 815th Engineer Construction Company, following the N.D. National Guard 2021 Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match at the Camp Grafton Training Center firing complex, near McHenry, North Dakota, July 11, 2021. Messer is one of five current shooters from the state that have earned the distinguished marksmanship badge in both rifle and pistol.

N.D. Army Guard Recruiters Surpassing Goals

In the wake of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the N.D. Army National Guard’s (NDARNG) Recruiting and Retention (R&R) Battalion is helping meet and surpass Fiscal Year 2021’s goal of 3,032 Soldiers assigned. Currently, the NDARNG has 3,055 Soldiers. (National Guard story by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. Public Affairs Office)

Supporting the overall strength of the NDARNG is this fiscal year’s recruiting goal of 353 new and prior service Soldiers. The ARNG recruiting team is well on their way to meeting this mission with two and a half months remaining before the fiscal year ends on Sept 30. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jammy Ryckman, the marketing and retention officer, attributes the recruiting successes not only due to the efforts of the outstanding Soldiers in the R&R Battalion, but also to the leads that were submitted by units. These efforts helped connect recruiters to high-quality, potential candidates.

Surpassing the recruiting goal was achieved despite the restrictions on community events throughout the year. Also many high schools and colleges switched to distance learning, which further limited the avenues recruiters could use to contact potential recruits.

Besides recruitment, interstate transfers and retention rates contribute to the state’s high end strength. This year has been especially significant for the state’s retention. The reenlistment success rate is at 87%, with a record low attrition rate projected for the remainder of the year. Ryckman credits the high retention to the actions of the units and their leadership, saying that the leadership’s care and dedication to their Soldiers helped make it possible for Soldiers to continue to serve in the Guard.

Ryckman says that "the success of this year does not just belong to recruiting or to the units because ultimately, this was a total team effort for the NDARNG."

There are many opportunities for Soldiers to take the challenge of being a recruiter. Interested Soldiers can contact Command Sgt. Maj. Troy Miller at 701-333-3134.

RedHawks Military Appreciation Night

Two North Dakota Army National Guard UH-72 Lakota helicopters flew over following the national anthem during Military Appreciation Night at the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball game held at Newman Outdoor Field, Fargo N.D., July 13, 2021.

Members of the N.D. Air National Guard were among the crowd participating in a celebration of U.S. Military service during Military Appreciation Night at the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball game held at Newman Outdoor Field, Fargo N.D., July 13, 2021. (National Guard photos and story by David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Second Lieutenant Jonathon Trainor, left, and 1st Sgt. Rene Farias, of the Fargo Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), administered the oath of enlistment for several recent enlistees during a commitment ceremony before the game.

The 188th Army Band’s commander and two retired members of the band performed the National Anthem at the Redhawk’s Military Appreciation Night at the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball game held at Newman Outdoor Field, Fargo N.D., July 13, 2021. From left retired Sgt. Chris Hanson, retired Sgt. 1st Class Kate Johanna Naujokas, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Landman, commander 188th Army Band.
Maj. Shaun Carlson, of the 119th Wing sits in the crowd with his daughter and father, retired Happy Hooligan Master Sgt. Stephen Carlson (peace sign) at the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball game held at Newman Outdoor Field, Fargo N.D., July 13, 2021.

Engineers Participate in Yellow Ribbon Activities

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) is a Department of Defense (DOD) effort helping National Guard and Reserve service members and their families connect with local resources before, during, and after deployments. (National Guard story by Staff Sgt, Chad Franson, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program)

The N.D. National Guard's 835th Engineer Utilities Detachment participated in their pre-deployment YRRP event at Camp Grafton Training Center, July 10 to 11. It was supported by a wide variety of agencies and was attended by approximately 150 Soldiers and Family members. Topics covered included TRICARE and other Family benefits, services offered by Service Member Family Support, Red Cross, public affairs and social media guidelines.

A Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) welcomes Soldiers and Family members of the 835th Engineer Utilities Detachment (EUD) to pre-mobilization activities at Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC), July 10, 2021. Top right, Lt. Col. Anna Wittrock, deputy director of personnel, and bottom right, Trudy Hjelseth, child and youth program, brief 835th EUD Soldiers and Families at CGTC.

Hooligans Celebrate New Colonel

Colonel Mitch Johnson, 119th Wing commander, administered the reaffirmation of the oath of office to Col. Chris Domitrovich, 119th Wing vice commander. (National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

Domitrovich was promoted during a ceremony at the N.D. Air National Guard Heritage Park at the Air National Guard Base, Fargo, July 14, 2021. Special guests included retired Maj. Gen. Alexander Macdonald, former adjutant general of the N.D. National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Brian Neal, former deputy director of the Air National Guard.

Top: From left Tech. Sgt. Shelly Fink reads the promotion order as retired Maj. Gen. Brian Neal, former deputy director of the Air National Guard, Col. Chris Domitrovich, 119th Wing vice commander, and Col. Mitch Johnson, 119th Wing commander, stand on the platform during the promotion ceremony for Domitrovich, N.D. Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., July 14, 2021. Bottom left: Domitrovich has rank of colonel pinned onto his uniform by his daughters. Bottom right: Johnson, left, administers the reaffirmation of the oath of office to Domitrovich as Family, friends and unit members look on.

Women's Leadership Summit

Please join us for a live stream of Maj. Gen. Giselle Wilz from the NDNG Women's Leadership Summit at 8:45 a.m., July 22, 2021. The live stream will be hosted on our website. Wilz, a former N.D. Army National Guard member, is currently assigned as the Director of Staff, National Guard Bureau. (National Guard story by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. Public Affairs Office)

Recognizing Achievement

Major General Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, presented awards to two Soldiers, Bismarck, July 15, 2021. (National Guard story by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. Public Affairs Office)

Major Jay Sheldon, J5/9 strategic plans and policy officer was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for distinguishing himself while assigned to the COVID-19 Unified Command Testing Strategy Task Force from April 27, 2020 to May 22, 2021.

Major General Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, presents the Air Force Commendation Medal to Maj. Jay Sheldon, J5/9 strategic plans and policy officer, left, and the Army Commendation Medal to Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chad” Highland, public affairs specialist, Bismarck, July 15, 2021.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chad” Highland, public affairs specialist, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement in supporting the N.D. National Guard’s public affairs missions by effectively managing the weekly online publication “TAG Line” and for producing quality video and photo products during the period April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

Fuel the Force has Moved

Fuel the Force has moved to a new platform on Facebook. To continue following the campaign, please join the Fuel the Force Facebook group. The campaign will continue to provide Service Members and their families with tools and resources to create stable and healthy habits.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ndngfueltheforce

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