TAG Line March 13, 2020

Happy Hooligans Earn Top Air Force Recognition

The N.D. Air National Guard's 119th Wing was formally presented their 21st Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (AFOUA) on March 7 in Fargo. The award was accepted by Col. Darrin Anderson, 119th Wing commander, on behalf of the unit. The AFOUA is awarded by the secretary of the U.S. Air Force to 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. During the award period the 119th Wing successfully executed combat and support operations for U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Global Strike Command. Click for news release. Top photo: Brig. Gen. Todd Branden, N.D. National Guard assistant adjutant general for Air, left, attaches a streamer representing the 21st AFOUA on the 119th Wing colors held by Col. Darrin Anderson as Chief Master Sgt. Duane Kangas, 119th Wing command chief looks on.

Notable accomplishments include: mobilizing the 119th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 119th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group lead the entire Air National Guard by increasing its target production output by 456 percent, and the 219th Security Forces Squadron facilitated a 98.7% sortie alert rate while safeguarding nuclear assets.

From left to right, Brig. Gen. Todd Branden, Col. Darrin Anderson and Chief Master Sgt. Duane Kangas hold the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award certificate during the presentation ceremony in Fargo on March 7.

Engineer Equipment Training in Ghana

State Partnership Program engineer training entered its second week in Ghana. The teamwork between N.D. Army engineers and our Ghanaian counterparts continued to be on display. Soldiers of the N.D. National Guard's 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI), as well as members of the 164th Engineer Battalion, 191st Military Police Company, 816th Military Police Company, and the 835th Engineer Detachment have been in Africa partnering with the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF). They are helping to develop the construction equipment program of instruction for the GAF engineer school.

Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Zinke, left, N.D. National Guard's lead instructor shows Ghanaian engineers how to use a laser level during a road construction project, on March 4 in Ghana.

A Ghanaian Chief Warrant Officer directs his bulldozer operator where to push debris during road construction in Ghana on March 5.

N.D. National Guard's Staff Sgt. Chad Good, right, assists Ghanaian engineers in grader operations in support of a road construction project in Ghana on Mar 4.

N.D. National Guard's Sgt. Travis Dukart, guides a Ghanaian equipment operator during clearing and grubbing operations during a road construction project in Ghana on March 4.

N.D. Airmen Team With Ghanaian Armed Forces on Forklifts

A team of Happy Hooligans led by MSgt. Steve Koenig, worked with our Ghanaian partners on forklift operations March 9-13 at Burma Camp in Accra, Ghana. Approximately 20 members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces are learning how to safely and efficiently operate forklifts. The first few days of instruction consisted of a reviewing equipment capabilities and safety standards. This included the proper use of ground guides, as well as visual and audible signaling for load handling. Daily, weekly, and monthly preventive maintenance checks, and before, during and after forklift operations maintenance was stressed to ensure operators understand their maintenance responsibilities.

N.D. Airmen work with members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces in learning how to properly operate forklifts. Top photo: Tech Sgt. Casey Schroeder discusses forklift safety procedures. Left photo: Tech Sgt. Matt Swandal briefs Ghanaian partners on forklift operations. Right photo: Schroeder, left and Swandal listen to comments from a Ghanaian soldier.

Outstanding Airmen Recognized

The N.D. Air National Guard, known as the "Happy Hooligans", recognized the organization's top Airmen, during its 2019 Outstanding Airman of Year banquet, on March 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo. Airmen were nominated for the awards based on their military and civic service throughout 2019. Awards were presented for Unit Career Advisor of the Year, First Sergeant of the Year, Outstanding Airman, Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer and Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. For more information please visit N.D. National Guard website.

From left to right, Col. Darrin Anderson, 119th Wing commander; Staff Sgt. Evan Shook, Unit Career Advisor of the Year; Airman 1st Class Ethan Kieffer, 119th Wing Airman of the Year; Staff Sgt. Ethan Johnson, 119th Wing Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Senior Master Sgt. Candice Blaze, 119th Wing Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Master Sgt. Kari Appletoft, First Sergeant of the Year; and Chief Master Sgt. Duane Kangas, 119th Wing command chief.

Camp Grafton Training Center Hosts Command Post Exercise

Approximately 50 Soldiers from the Fargo-based 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) participated in a Command Post Exercise (CPX) at Camp Grafton Training Center March 6-8. The CPX, hosted by the Camp Grafton Training Center operations staff, was conducted in preparation for the 141st MEB's upcoming Warfighter Exercise at Fort Riley, Kansas. The exercise staff provided oversight and operated the digital war simulator that guides the exercises simulated situations.

Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber (second from right), deputy adjutant general, observes the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade's S-1 (personnel) response to a situational report during Combat Post Exercise play on March 7.
Members of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade staff Capt. Badger Koepplin, standing left, and Sgt. Maj. August Honeyman setup the floor plan in preparation for the start of the Command Post Exercise at Camp Grafton Training Center on March 7.

Always Ready

The 81st Civil Support Team (CST), partnered with the Minot Fire Department, conducted Collective Lanes Training (CLT) in Minot on March 10 and 12. The exercise evaluated by U.S. Army North was in the parking lot of the Minot Armed Forces Reserve Center. The CLT prepares the CST for Training Proficiency Evaluations (TPEs), which validates the team's ability to respond to terrorist's attacks and WMDs. This type of training also helps the CST build relationships with local civil responders Department. Our CST received favorable comments from the Army North evaluators. The 81st CST will continue to perform internal exercises to prepare for their TPE scheduled for May.

Members of the 81st Civil Support Team train in Level A PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and SCUB (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) in Minot on March 10.

N.D. Marksman Excels Again at National Competition

This week National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are competing with active duty Soldiers in the U.S. Army Small Arms “All Army” Championships held at Fort Benning, Ga. N.D. National Guard’s Senior Airman Gavin Rook earned 1st place overall in the Combat Rifle Excellence in Competition with a nearly perfect score of 200. The competition will wrap up later today.

Senior Airman Gavin Rook at Fort Benning, Ga.

Biathlon Team

The N.D. National Guard team took second place at the 2020 Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships held Feb. 28-March 5 at Hollow Nordic Resort in Midway, Utah. Individual accomplishments include Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts, third in men's sprint Competition and Capt. Blake Hillerson finished third in The Pursuit, Men's Master's Division.

N.D. National Guard biathlon team. From left to right: 2nd Lt. Conrad Roberts, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts, Sgt. Josh Warmbold, Capt. Blake Hillerson, Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst and Sgt. Jordan Becker.

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ND National Guard Public Affairs Office