TAG Line May 24, 2019

Camp Grafton Training Center "Friends and Neighbors Day"

Despite unseasonably cold weather, about 220 visitors attended the first Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC) Friends and Neighbors Day on May 18. CGTC, a North Dakota National Guard post near Devils Lake, is a prime training center for reserve component forces, law enforcement and other agencies. (top photo: A young visitor checks out a M240 Machine Gun at the weapons display table under the watchful eyes of N.D. National Guard Soldiers Spc. T.J. Largo and Sgt. Michael Helland. Partnerships with our community is essential to our success and events like this help build those long lasting relationships. More photos at Flickr Album Camp Grafton Open House.

Clockwise from top left photos from CGTC Friends and Neighbors Day on May 18. Visitors check out the bridge boats and transporters that were among the static displays. A young visitor checks out a The MK 19 grenade launcher at the weapons display under the watchful eyes of Sgt. Michael Helland. Each weapon was supervised by a Soldier. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kelly Johansen (left) welcomes Dr. Doug Darling, president Lake Region State College in Devils Lake. Darling is the Honorary Commander of CGTC, a N.D. National Guard program pairing community leaders with National Guard units in their area. Young visitors try an obstacle on the confidence course under supervision of Guard Soldiers. Sgt. Des McIntyre explains how the up-armored High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Hummer, is used in combat to two visitors.

Aviators Train in Canada

About 42 Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment (Assault) recently returned from annual training (May 6 - 21 ) in Canada. The Soldiers trained with British Armed Forces at the British Army Training Unit Suffield, in Alberta. According to the unit's commander, 1st Lt. Robert Sorensen, the aviators conducted excellent training on some of their most important Mission Essential Tasks to include single-ship and multi-ship operations, day and night using night vision goggles. The unit fired over 43,000 rounds with their M240 machine guns and recorded more than 130 flight hours. The Soldiers conducted aerial gunnery, troop insertion and extraction, while training with allied forces in a combined environment.

Boxes of 7.62 caliber ammunition wait to be loaded aboard Black Hawk helicopters for use in the aircraft's M240 machine guns.

Sgt. Andrew Hilgemann fires his M240 machine gun during aerial gunnery training.

Aviation Soldiers sighting lasers for use with their M240 machine guns during night gunnery.

A trailing Black Hawk helicopter is seen during mult-ship aerial gunnery exercise.

Soldiers performing preventative maintenance on a Black Hawk helicopter at sunset during the unit's last day in Canada on May 21.

N.D. Veterans Cemetery's POW/MIA Memorial Updated

The POW/MIA Memorial located at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery was missing some names of North Dakota Prisoners of War. To correct this issue, the podium at the memorial was replaced on May 23 with a new one that bore the omitted names.

Top photos: Workers replace the 4,000 pound podium at the POW/MIA Memorial at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. The new podium included the names of POWs and MIAs that were erroneously omitted from the memorial. Bottom: Retired Air Force Colonel Vern Huber's F-84 Thunderjet aircraft is depicted at the top of the new podium and his name is the second listed name. Huber was shot down over Korea during his 44th aerial combat mission and was a POW for 16 months.

The memorial was a joint effort of the Vietnam Vets / Legacy Vets and Second Brigade motorcycle clubs. The clubs designed the memorial and raised the funds from private donors. Photos of the dedication on July 3, 2015, can be viewed at Flickr photo collection.

Suicide Prevention Program Training

The Suicide Prevention Program hosted Suicide Intervention Officer (SIO) Refresher Training at RJB armory in Bismarck. There's a SIO at every company, battalion and brigade level who have been appointed to serve as the unit's suicide prevention subject matter expert. They are responsible for promoting suicide awareness, building a resource network specific with the unit and coordinating unit training.

Left: Brady Carlson, Alcohol & Drug Control Officer briefs the Army Substance Abuse Program during the Suicide Intervention Officer refresher training, Right: SIOs tour the Mobile Vet Center equipped with a confidential counseling area and a video conferencing system.

The SIOs play an important role in this effort by promoting suicide awareness in their units and being knowledgeable and available for their Soldiers and Airmen who may need specific resources to help them through difficult times. SIOs are expected to get to know their Soldiers and to be able to assist if a Soldier finds themselves approaching or in a crisis. SIOs complete over 20 hours of initial training prior to their appointment. Refresher training brings SIOs together to discuss program updates, current suicide trends/warning signs, and how to improve the program. This year, we learned from presenters from the Chaplain's Office; FirstLink, Bismarck Vet Center, Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), Psychological Health and Military OneSource. Suicide is a preventable personnel loss that impacts unit readiness, morale, and mission effectiveness. Accordingly, the organization takes an active and serious approach to suicide prevention through training, awareness, and providing resources to our Soldiers and Airmen in need.

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NDNG Public Affairs