TAG Line October 18, 2019

These Farm Boys Could Fight!

77 Years Since Guadalcanal

On Oct. 13 1942, a group of “farm boys from North Dakota” landed on the beach at Guadalcanal, destined to become the first U.S. Army unit to offensively engage the enemy during World War II. N.D. Army National Guard’s 164th Infantry Regiment, supplemented by U.S. Army draftees as well as National Guard fillers from other states, reinforced the 1st Marine Division in the defense of the tactical air strip that was later named Henderson Field by U.S. forces. This campaign was part of Operation Watchtower. The first U.S. Soldier to be killed during WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor was Cpl. Kenneth S. Foubert, 164th Infantry Regiment, when he arrived on Guadalcanal. Top photo: Vice Adm. Robert Ghormley, Maj. Gen. Ernest Harmon, and Maj. Gen. Alexander Patch inspect 164th Infantry Regiment Soldiers on a U.S. Navy transport at Noumea, New Caledonia bound for Guadalcanal, October 1942.

Left Photo: Soldiers of the 164th Infantry Regiment prepare mortar fighting positions on Guadalcanal, October 1942. Right: Sketch of a bomb crater on Guadalcanal by Pfc. Doug Burtell, 164th Infantry Regiment, drawn during the regiment's combat operations on the island in 1942.

The Japanese Imperial Navy welcomed the newcomers throughout the night with 14-inch artillery shells that shredded palm trees to toothpicks and left holes the size of basements. The Regiment lost its first soldier that very first day and, as word spread, the Guardsmen quickly learned the realities of war. Just 12 days later, the 164th would fight alongside the Marines in what was officially called the Second Battle for Henderson Field, but was unofficially called The Battle of Coffin Corner because of the thousands of enemy dead that were buried there. Capt. Al Wiest, of the 164th, overheard Marine Lt. Col. Chesty Puller comment "Those farm boys can fight, I can tell you that much." This was the first major offensive by Allied forces against Japan.

Improving Resiliency

The 119th Wing Chaplain’s office hosted Irish special forces veteran and subject of the book "About Face​: Finding Peace Within the Battle", John Corcoran, as a guest speaker at the N.D. Air National Guard Base dining facility in Fargo Oct. 17. Corcoran provided an inspirational account of how spiritual faith gave him the strength to rebuild his resiliency following his combat experiences in Southwest Asia. Book author Bethany Barnett joined Corcoran and made introductory comments.

Top left: Bethany Barnett, author of the book “About Face: Finding Peace Within the Battle,” renders remarks at the N.D. Air National Guard Base dining facility in Fargo Oct. 17. Top right: : Irish special forces veteran John Corcoran shares his account of resiliency with Airmen of the 119th Wing. Bottom: Chaplain (Capt.) Dellas Herbel, 119th Wing chaplain, discusses resiliency with Corcoran.

Hooligans train for Missions under Hazardous Conditions

The 119th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management functional area conducted chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) defense training for unit members at the N.D. Air National Guard Base in Fargo, during the Oct. 5 and 6 unit training assembly. CBRNE training includes protective measures taken in situations in which chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare (including terrorism) hazards may be present.

Instructors from emergency management trained personnel to survive and operate in a hazardous environment in a deployed location, as well as home station, utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE), commonly called chem gear.

Training stations were dedicated for various aspects of CBRNE training. The stations included post-attack reconnaissance (PAR) training, proper wear of the PPE, protection of assets using plastic covering, and zone transition point training, which is a limited decontamination process. PAR training teaches and refreshes unit members’ ability to quickly assess exposure to contamination following an attack.

Photo: From left, Master Sgt. Adam Krueger, Lt. Col. Steve Larson and Master Sgt. Joe Fluge wear their PPE while participating in CBRNE training,

PAR teams are deployed to potential contaminated zones to determine contamination exposure and type, and to look for unexploded ordnance and injured personnel.

The PPE worn for possible chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive attack is also used for HAZMAT incidents that may happen in man-made accidents or natural occurring events.

CBRNE training is a recurring requirement for all N.D. Air National Guard members in order to be ready to execute their missions anywhere in the world, in any hazardous condition.

Master Sgt. Jason Dewar, 119th Civil Engineer Squadron, teaches post attack reconnaissance techniques and procedures to unit members during unit training assembly at Air National Guard Base, Fargo Oct. 6.

Military Appreciation Football Game

The Bismarck High School Demons hosted the Minot Magicians at the MDU Community Bowl in Bismarck during their annual Military Appreciation football game, Oct. 14. The Demons donned their military-themed jerseys and recognized military members and veterans associated with the football team. The N.D. Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion provided the large U.S. Flag displayed at midfield during the national anthem and participated in the game's coin toss. Veterans were admitted free and recognized throughout the evening. Among the officials for the game was N.D. Guard's Maj. Shawn Markovic, 68th Troop Command.

Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Hoefer listens as referee Jason Docktor issues instructions to the team captains of Minot and Bismarck High Schools' football team Oct. 14 in Bismarck. Hoefer flipped the coin for the game in honor of Military Appreciation night.

Hoefer holds the military coin used in the coin flip for the Military Appreciation football game on Oct. 14 in Bismarck.

Bismarck High School cheerleaders and students hold a large flag under the direction of Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Klein, N.D. Army Recruiting and Retention, during the Oct. 14 Military Appreciation football game in Bismarck.

The Bismarck High School Demons football team runs onto the field at the beginning of the Oct. 14 Military Appreciation football game. The Demons were wearing military-themed jerseys in recognition of the military.

First Mission at New Fargo VA Cemetery

The N.D. National Guard Military Funeral Honors (MFH) executed their first mission at the newly established Fargo National Veterans Cemetery Oct. 15. This was the first day of operation for this newly established VA facility. The N.D. Guard's MFH renders funeral and interment honors for eligible military members and veterans state-wide.

Sgt. Mark Kubat, left, non-commissioned officer (NCOIC) in charge of the N.D. National Guard's western area MFH and Spc. Andrew Holmquist, Fargo MFH team leader, stand guard for a U.S. Flag and the cremated remains of a U.S. Army Veteran on Oct. 15. These interment services were conducted on the first day of operations for the Fargo Veterans National Cemetery.
Members of the N.D. Patriot Guard stand with U.S. Flags during interment services at the newly opened Fargo National Veterans Cemetery on Oct. 15.
Created By
ND National Guard Public Affairs Office