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TAG Line April 19, 2019

MEB Rail Load

This week, Soldiers of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) loaded vehicles and equipment in Grand Forks on rail cars for eventual transport to Europe for use during an exercise. The MEB will participate in exercise Saber Guardian 19 in Romania later this summer. Saber Guardian is an annual, U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, which takes place in numerous locations in Europe, and is co-hosted by the land force components in participating countries. Above photo: Spc. Jordan Benth, 231st Brigade Support Battalion, tightens load binders during rail load operations in Grand Forks on April 17.

Left: Sgt. 1st Class Tom Webster guides vehicles as they load on rail cars. Bottom right: Pfc Alexander Yee (right), 426th Signal Company and Cpl Jade Baker, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB). MEB Soldiers loaded vehicles and equipment in Grand Forks on rail cars for eventual transport to Europe for use during Saber Guardian 2019.

Patriot's Day Celebrated

On April 15, Gov. Doug Burgum proclaimed the first Patriot's Day in North Dakota. Our state is the 5th state to formally recognize this holiday that celebrates the beginning of the American Revolutionary War that started with the battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775. The holiday will be observed the third Monday of every April.

Brig. Gen. Bob Becklund, deputy adjutant general, represented the N.D. National Guard at the Patriot's Day proclamation signing on April 15 at the N.D. state capital. Bottom left. Gov. Burgum watches as North Dakota Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, affixes an official state seal to the Patriot's Day proclamation.

Cyber Shield 2019

Soldiers, Airmen and civilians from three states (North Dakota, South Dakota and Colorado) teamed up for the Cyber Shield 2019 Exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Teams were responsible for identifying network vulnerabilities in a simulated online election network.

Top left: Tech Sgt. Eric Wilkens (left) and Staff Sgt. Preston Sand discuss potential network intrusions during the Cyber Shield 2019 exercise. Bottom: Capt. Dan Sly, commander, 119th Communications Flight, looks over the shoulder of Sr. Airman Brock Taylor also of the 119th Communications Flight. Sly was part of a North Dakota leaders delegation that attended Distinguished Visitor Day during the exercise.

Cyber Shield is the premiere unclassified Defensive Cyberspace Operations exercise for collective training and technical assessment with industry partners. More Cyber Shield photos.

Hoeven and Hooligans discuss Base Improvements, Reserve Component Benefits

Sen. John Hoeven hosted a roundtable at the Fargo Air Museum on April 17 to discuss strengthening the missions and benefits of North Dakota Guardsmen and Reservists. Leaders from the North Dakota National Guard, North Dakota State University Army and Air Force ROTC programs and local community leaders were among the participants.

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Left to right: Lt. Col. Jodee Aubol, officer-in-charge, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; Sen. John Hoeven; Brian Shawn, Chair, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee; Col. Mitch Johnson, vice commander, 119th Wing; and retired Maj. Gen. Alexander MacDonald.

Topics included a military construction (MILCON) project for the 119th Wing, concurrent use of the G.I. Bill and Federal Tuition Assistance for reserve component members and extending TRICARE eligibility to all reserve component members.

ADA Avenger Master Gunners

The North Dakota Air Defender community celebrate their newest Avenger Master Gunners. Staff Sgt. Matthew Cobb, Staff Sgt. Garrett Beiningen and Staff Sgt. Tyler Fixen are all traditional Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. These Soldiers successfully completed the required 10-week Master Gunner training course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma graduating April 18.

(from left) Staff Sergeants Matthew Cobb, Garrett Beiningen and Tyler Fixen diplay their Avenger Master Gunner belt buckles.

Over long days and countless hours, these Soldiers were immersed in all aspects of the Avenger Weapon System, M3P Machine Gun and Stinger Weapon System. They were tested on weapon’s capabilities, malfunction procedures, gunnery skills, evaluation procedures and numerous practical exercises. The final exam of the course was a grueling three-day evaluation of their short range training plans which outlined how to properly train and evaluate MOS 14S (Avenger) Soldiers in gunnery tables and live fire exercises. These three Soldiers are now among the elite Air Defenders in the Nation and are the only three traditional North Dakota National Guard Soldiers to hold the title of Avenger Master Gunner. First to Fire!

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Legislative Update

• SB2016 - Office of the Adjutant General Budget. The bill has passed both chambers and has been sent to the Governor for signature. The budget includes State Tuition Assistance equal to $4.7M and $600K for the purpose of pursuing lease or buy options with land owners for range expansion at Camp Grafton Training Center - South for the NDNG. This same bill will provide the Department of Emergency Services and State Radio funding for computer-aided dispatch equipment and message switch system upgrades.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann provides testimony on March 25 at the North Dakota capital to the Senate Industry Business and Labor Committee for House Bill 1053 - Tax Exemption for Military Retirees.

• HB1095 - State Active Duty (SAD) Job Protection. This bill was in conference committee on April 9 and received a "Do Pass 6-0". The bill unanimously passed the House on April 16 and amendments adopted by the Senate the same day. It has been sent to the Governor for signature.

• SB2306 - Military Spouse Licensure was in conference committee on April 8. Discussion during conference committee included adding back language for reporting requirements that were previously amended out. Sen. Scott Meyer (bill sponsor) worked with Rep. Vernon Laning to produce language that was acceptable and voted in during an April 18 conference committee meeting. The bill will be on the floor April 19.

• House Continuing Resolution (HCR) 3047 is a legislative study on state and federal Veterans programs and services. It has passed both chambers and been signed by the Speaker of the House Rep. Lawrence Klemin. If this study is conducted it would be separate from, but likely very similar to the Governor’s Task Force for Veteran’s Affairs.

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