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TAG Line March 30, 2019

North Dakota National Guard

The Woody Keeble "Je Suis Pret" (I Am Ready) Award ceremony

Eight North Dakota Guardsmen were recognized on Friday as the first individuals to receive a new state award during a ceremony at the Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton. The Woodrow Wilson Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award was recently approved and was created to recognize N.D. National Guard Soldiers or Airmen who display courage, fortitude, and determination to protect or defend life, limb or property.

Gov. Doug Burgum (left) & Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann (right) with the recipients of the new "Keeble" award
Gov. Burgum congratulates Spc. Mathew Wolf, a recipient of "Keeble" award

Gov. Doug Burgum, Mr. Scott Davis, Executive Director, North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission & Mr. Russell Hawkins, Keeble’s stepson joined Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann in rendering remarks.

Keeble was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously at a ceremony at the White House hosted by President George W. Bush in 2008 for actions during the Korean War. During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater with the North Dakota National Guard’s famous 164th Infantry Regiment. There he earned the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Keeble is also a recipient of North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider award.

“In the future, whenever we recognize one of our North Dakota Guard members for heroism, bravery and selfless service with this award, we honor and remember this great American,” said Dohrmann. “Keeble’s military service to our nation and state will long be remembered.”

Keeble's step-son, Mr. Russell Hawkins, meets with Guard members that were awarded the first "Keeble" awards.

Vietnam Veterans Day

About 150 people gathered at the N.D. Capital Friday to celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day, as proclaimed by Gov. Doug Burgum. Our Profession of Arms reaches across many generations of those who served our nation in uniform.

Gov. Burgum (center) signs the Vietnam Veterans Day Proclamation as Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann and North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, look on. The item on the table is used to affix the Secretary of State's Seal on the document certifying that the Governor's signature is authentic.

After the capital ceremony, members of the North Dakota National Guard assisted the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Minishoshe-Mandan Chapter in serving a lunch for all Veterans and their guests at the Bismarck AMVETs. The DAR has sponsored this event for several year which specifically honors Vietnam Veterans.

Hundreds of Veterans and their guests gathered at the AMVETs in Bismarck to celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day with a shared meal hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Veterans and their guests salute the U.S. Flag during the pledge of allegiance.

Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Miller, Command Chief for the North Dakota Air National Guard, serves a guest at the Bismarck AMVETs during the meal celebrating Vietnam Veterans Day.

Col. Jon Erickson, commander of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, serves a guest at the Bismarck AMVETs during the meal celebrating Vietnam Veterans Day.

Maj. Jay Sheldon, Government Affairs Officer for the North Dakota National Guard, serves guests at the Bismarck AMVETs during the meal celebrating Vietnam Veterans Day.

Brig. Gen. Bob Becklund, North Dakota National Guard deputy adjutant general, serves a guest at the Bismarck AMVETs during the meal celebrating Vietnam Veterans Day.

Department of Emergency Services

Communities across the state this week have contended with ice jams creating swollen river systems, which have triggered flooding in some areas. The North Dakota National Guard has been monitoring conditions and conferring with county emergency managers to anticipate a domestic response, if needed. On Tuesday, March 26, the Guard’s major commands discussed preparations for potential flood operations during a video teleconference with commanders and directorates across the state. During the meeting, emergency operations planners discussed initial State Active Duty in-processing guidance, revisited emergency response plans and processes and received situational awareness from various meeting attendees. The North Dakota National Guard has a long history of assisting during natural disasters, when activated by the governor, by saving lives and property. Similar to about 18 other states, the North Dakota National Guard adjutant general is "dual-hatted" as the Guard command and the Director of Emergency Services.

Members of the North Dakota National Guard and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, along with representatives of several state and federal agencies meet frequently in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to coordinate efforts in support of North Dakota residents. This was a flood response meeting on March 12.
This “Megga Bagger” from the N.D. Department of Emergency Services (DES) is helping communities respond to growing flood waters in their regions. The sandbag machine is portable and easily towed to where it is needed. Running at full capacity with an experienced crew, this machine, currently in Wahpeton, can produce up to 3,200 sandbags per hour. The DES has six sandbag machines. Besides Wahpeton, we have one in Sioux County on the Standing Rock Reservation.

McKenzie County Flood Response

Multiple state agencies assembled on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (MDT) to form a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at the Fairview Fire Hall on the Montana side of the border. Led by the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, the purpose was to provide an whole-government response to those residents that require assistance in recovering from flooding caused by the Yellowstone River in northwest North Dakota. Water is receding, but many homes aren't yet accessible as of Saturday afternoon.

More than 50 farmers, ranchers and residents visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at the fire hall in Fairview, Montana.

Participating state agencies include the N.D. Department of Emergency Services; North Dakota Department of Human Services; N.D. Department of Health; N.D. Department of Agriculture; N.D. State University Extension Service and several non-government organizations. According to Karolin Jappe, McKenzie County Emergency Manager, “This is a very resilient, tightknit community that has really come together to support each other. Very few people have made it back to their homes to assess the damage. The MARC has provided them information on how to deal with the flood effects.” Very few people have made it back to their homes today to assess the damage so the information they gathered today is extremely valuable.

Legislative Update

Senate Bill 2306 (sponsored by Sen. Scott Meyer), after previously passing in the Senate, was passed in the House on March 27. This bill removes barriers for military spouses moving to North Dakota seeking work in a licensed occupation by streamlining processes to obtain license in this state. Key to this bill being successful were a consistent and regular communications with state government, legislators, military members, military spouses, and stakeholders. First, the NDNG brought together members of nearly all of the military elements in the state along with numerous other stakeholders to the first Task Force for Military Issues on North Dakota (TF MIND) Summit in June, 2018. Then, in September, the North Dakota Commission on Military Promotion and Strategic Sustainment, chaired by Lt. Gov. Sanford met to further discuss and understand this issue. These meetings generated a lot of state-wide discussion that ultimately supported the passage of SB 2306. Allowing military spouses to more easily transfer occupational licensing will increase readiness.

House Bill 1101 (sponsored by Rep. Austen Schauer) after previously passing in the House, passed the Senate on March 27, 2019. This bill allows the Office of The Adjutant General the authority to receive and execute funds from the North Dakota National Guard Foundation (or like foundations) for the purpose of supporting Service Member, Veteran, Family, and Survivors programs. Current programs that will benefit from this authority are Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), North Dakota Remembrance Weekend, and North Dakota Youth Camps. We are always committed to taking care of members of the North Dakota National Guard family.

Tragedy Assistance Program (TAPS) host participants in Washington, D.C. annually every Memorial Day weekend.

House bill 1053, State income tax exemption for military retiree pay, passed both the House & the Senate. If the governor signs this bill, it will go into effect for taxes from this calendar year. If this bill becomes law, this would help North Dakota be more military friendly.

ND Commission on Military Promotion & Strategic Sustainment is chaired by Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford & consists of representatives from Minot, Grand Forks & Fargo. (Sept 2018 - Bismarck)
Task Force MIND Summit - Military leaders, TF MIND civilian members & Stakeholders from across ND.

Thanks to our partners in the Republic of Togo, we conducted a great exercise which will continue to enhance our international partnership.

Last week, our team concluded the flood exercise with Togo’s Agency National Civil Protection Office, Ministry of Security & Emergency Preparedness to test the agencies’ capacity to respond to natural disasters.

Civilians practice water evacuations

The exercise took place in the villages of Kossi-Kopé, Gbondjohoé & Lawson-Kopé & posed a scenario requiring a crisis response after heavy rains released water from a near-by dam. The agencies walked through a hypothetical response to flooding in surrounding villages, causing hundreds of displaced persons. The exercise was designed to test the Agency National Civil Protection Office on informing affected populations through early warning systems, and to rapidly mobilize resources to provide assistance to affected areas and populations.

North Dakota Marksmanship Team

Our North Dakota Marksmanship Team is on target for another year of success in shooting competition. This month, from March 10 through March 16, our Soldiers & Airmen fired pistols and rifles in individual and team competition during the U.S. Army Small Arms Championship in Fort Benning, Georgia. They compared scores with more than 220 marksmen comprising 44 four-man teams from across the nation.

The team now will prepare for the 48th Annual Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championship, which will take place in North Little Rock, Arkansas, in April. Congratulations and a job well done to all our shooters!

The North Dakota Marksmanship Team sent six competitors: Sgt. Tyler Goldade, of the 815th Engineer Company (Horizontal); Staff Sgt. Jason Dittus, of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; Senior Airman Gavin Rook, of the 119th Wing; Sgt. Brendan Dean, of the 815th Engineer Company (Horizontal); and Senior Master Sgt. Wade Swenson, of the 119th Wing. Senior Master Sgt. Brian Rook, also of the 119th Wing, coached the team and participated in individual competition, as well. Goldade took top honors in the “Combat Rifle Excellence-in-Competition” match in the Pro category. Dean took 3rd Place overall as a Novice shooter. In the Open class, Senior Airman Gavin Rook took a slew of awards, including: 1st place overall shooter in individual competition, 3rd overall in the “Match 3” pistol category, 4th overall in the “Pistol Championship” category and he also accrued enough “leg points” to become a distinguished pistol shooter. Leg points are earned during state, regional and national marksmanship competitions. A marksman acquires leg points by finishing in the top 10 percent of shooters in rifle and pistol “Excellence-in-Competition” matches. Rook is now “double distinguished” as a pistol and rifle shooter. Good marksmanship breeds lethality in a fighting force.

Created By
william prokopyk
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Credits:

Brett Miller Dave Lipp Eric Jensen Rob Keller