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TAG Line April 30, 2021

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Drew Vinchattle pilots a N.D. Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter near the Washington Monument during a training flight while on duty in the National Capital Region. (National Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kiel Skager, Joint Force Headquarters, N.D. National Guard)

Aviators on Duty in National Capital Region

Senior leaders from the N.D. National Guard traveled to the National Capitol Region (NCR) to visit with Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment (C/2-285th AVN). (National Guard story and photos by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kiel Skager, Joint Force Headquarters, N.D. National Guard)

These N.D. Army National Guard aviators deployed to the National Capital Region in November 2020 for a nine-month mission in support of the U.S. Army's 12th Aviation Battalion stationed at Davison Army Airfield, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The unit operates UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in support of their mission which includes transport of passengers and light cargo around the Military District of Washington in the most restricted airspace in the world.

The visiting group consisted of the commander and sergeant major of the 68th Troop Command, Col. Brock Larson and Command Sgt. Maj. John Zacher along with the command team of 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, Lt. Col. Mike Green and Command Sgt. Major Nick Clark. Also participating in the command visit was the N.D. Army National Guard's command warrant officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kiel Skager.

Besides checking on the fitness, welfare, training and morale of Soldiers, the command group also met with the leaders of the 12th Aviation Battalion and received a deployment overview and mission briefs. The visiting leaders also participated in a flight over several well-known monuments and landmarks in the Washington DC area. The flight was memorable because of the lack of air traffic in the area.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment takes off from Davison Army Airfield, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, during a training flight, April 27, 2021.

Black Hawk helicopters from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment are positioned for on-call missions at Davison Army Airfield, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, April 27, 2021.

N.D. Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk maintenance Soldiers meet with Command Sgt. Maj. Nick Clark (back to camera) and Command Sgt. Maj. John Zacher, right, during a command visit to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment deployed to the National Capital Region, April 27, 2021.

The N.D. National Guard leaders presented several Soldiers with challenge coins in recognition of their outstanding service and performance of duty during the mobilization.

Col. Brock Larson, commander of the 68th Troop Command, presents a challenge coin to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kyle Hoffman, pilot, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment, in recognition of his outstanding efforts during the deployment, April 27, 2021.
Command Sgt. Maj. Nick Clark, command sergeant major, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, views historic landmarks in the National Capital Region from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, April 27, 2021. Clark was visiting Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment, who have been deployed to the NCR since November 2020.

Hooligans Wrap-up Exercise Southern Strike

Nearly 100 North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) members completed their participation in Exercise Southern Strike 2021 this week at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), Gulfport, Mississippi, and are preparing to return to N.D. (National Guard story and photos by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing Public Affairs)

North Dakota National Guard Airmen, better known as the Happy Hooligans, traveled to the exercise area on April 9, 2021. Southern Strike 2021is a large-scale, joint and international combat exercise, hosted by the Mississippi National Guard, which features counter-insurgency, close air support, non-combatant evacuations, and maritime special operations. Approximately 2,000 service members – active, reserve, and guard – participated in the exercise. This year’s Southern Strike marked its 10th anniversary and took place from April 15 thru April 29.

Tech. Sgt. Colter Pratt directs Senior Airman Christopher Heinrich as he operates a crane to position equipment during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

Senior Airman Christopher Heinrich operates a crane during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

Participants encountered everything from commercial vessel seizures, to hostage situations, to non-combatant evacuation operations. Southern Strike is committed to providing real-world training to prepare all participants for a variety of possible missions in the future.

Senior Master Sgt. Tom Lawrence sets up equipment during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22.

Senior Master Sgt. Danielle Card demonstrates computer simulation capabilities for Col. Jon Wahlgren, left, and Brig. Gen. Robert Schulte, the N.D. National Guard chief of staff for Air, during a distinguished visitor day at exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

Hooligan MQ-9 aircraft launched from the Gulfport CRTC and conducted inert munitions delivery at the Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Air-to-Ground range for training during the exercise.

Inert GBU-12 munitions await loading on a 119th Wing MQ-9 aircraft during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.
A group photo of North Dakota Air National Guard Airmen during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22.

Senior Master Sgt. Carter Norrie, the 119th Wing weapons safety manager, helps push a trailer with inert GBU-12 munitions during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

119th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons loaders prepare inert GBU-12 munitions on an MQ-9 aircraft during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

A N.D. Air National Guard MQ-9 aircraft is loaded with inert GBU-12 and GBU-38 munitions as it prepares to launch en route to the Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Air-to-Ground range during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

119th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron members run systems checks on an MQ-9 aircraft during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.
A N.D. Air National Guard MQ-9 aircraft loaded with inert GBU-12 and GBU-38 munitions flys toward the Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Air-to-Ground range during Exercise Southern Strike at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi, April 22, 2021.

Appreciation of Southwest COVID-19 Response Team

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general, and the N.D. Army National Guard state command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Derek Heck, traveled to Dickinson to meet with N.D. National Guard members engaged in the COVID-19 response efforts, April 28, 2021. (National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, closest, adjutant general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Derek Heck, N.D. Army National Guard State command sergeant major, toured the COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine site in Dickinson, April 28.

The N.D. National Guard leaders received a tour of the facilities and were briefed on the joint activities of the National Guard and the Southwest District Health Unit in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann and Command Sgt. Maj. Derek Heck meet with Guard members on COVID-19 response duty in Dickinson on April 28, 2021.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, presents a coin to Spc. DeeDee Boehm, 816th Military Police Company, in Dickinson, April 28, 2021. Boehm was recognized for serving over 380 days in support of more than 120 COVID-19 vaccine and testing missions.
Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann awards a TAG Coin to Spc. Sully Merwin, 816th Military Police Company, Dickinson, April 28, 2021. Merwin served over 360 days on COVID-19 response duty and is credited for administering over 1,650 vaccinations.
While in Dickinson, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, awards Sherry Adams, Southwestern District Health Unit Executive Officer, the N.D. National Guard State Meritorious Service Medal, April 28, 2021. Adams was recognized for her support to the N.D. National Guard throughout the multi-agency COVID-19 pandemic response and for her support of seven strategic emergency management engagements over eight years with the N.D. National Guard State Partnership Program partners, Benin, Ghana and Togo.
Sherry Adams, Southwestern District Health Unit Executive Officer, left, presents Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general, a T-shirt shirt designed by the N.D. Guard members of Team Southwest during a command visit in Dickinson, April 28, 2021.

CST Joint Exercise

The 81st Civil Support Team (CST) conducted a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department, in Mandan, N.D., April 28, 2021. (National Guard story and photos by Officer Candidate Michaela C.P. Granger, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

The 81st Civil Support Team conducts a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department, Mandan, April 28, 2021.

Joint training exercises with the 81st CST help civilian first responders understand the CST's capabilities and the support they can provide in domestic emergency response. Training together also helps civilian first responders learn how to maximize and coordinate this support. It establishes relationships between the agency and 81st CST which in turn improves cooperation. The simulated scenario focused on a suspicious vehicle emitting radiation and unknown substances.

Top left: Staff Sgt. Samuel Hemphill, 81st Civil Support Team (CST), directs a TALON IV Hazmat robot towards the van suspected of emitting radiation in the training scenario. Bottom left and right: Sgt. 1st Class Chris Keller, 81st CST, monitors the progress of the robot as it moves towards the suspicious van during a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department in Mandan, April 28.

Sgt. Domonic Delaney, left, and Sgt. Travis Johnson, 81st Civil Support Team, inspect unknown substances found inside a van during a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department in Mandan, April 28, 2021.

Sgt. Domonic Delaney, left, and Sgt. Travis Johnson, 81st Civil Support Team, survey a vehicle for radioactivity during a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department in Mandan, April 28, 2021. Sgt. 1st Class Chris Keller, 81st Civil Support Team, center, observes the training exercise.
Sgt. Domonic Delaney, left, and Sgt. Travis Johnson, 81st Civil Support Team, test an unknown substance found in a vehicle during a joint training exercise with the Mandan Fire Department in Mandan, April 28, 2021.

Construction Engineer Leaders Course

The sixteen Soldiers in the current Construction Engineer Supervisor Advanced Leaders Course (Military Occupational Specialty 12H30) at the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI), Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC), recently assisted in the construction of military lodging facilities at the camp. (National Guard story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Dave Weber, 164th RTI)

Incorporating student-led construction efforts, while increasing billeting spaces, supports CGTC's strategic plan. So far, RTI students, along with N.D. Army National Guard engineer units and out-of-state units training at CGTC, have contributed to the construction of four eight-plex officer quarters.

Soldiers of the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI) Construction Engineer Supervisor Advanced Leaders Course assist in the construction of military lodging facilities at Camp Grafton Training Center, April 25, 2021. (National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Dave Weber, 164th RTI)

Underwater Reconnaissance

Soldiers from the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI) conducted an underwater engineer reconnaissance in Devils Lake at Camp Grafton Training Center on April 22, 2021. (National Guard story and photos by Sgt. Ryan Sykes, 164th RTI)

The reconnaissance provided the camp commander recommendations for the best location to construct an MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) fishing pier. The pier will allow Soldiers and others training at CGTC to comfortably fish in adjoining Devils Lake. This project supports one of the N.D. National Guard's quality of life initiatives.

Master Sgt. Brian Schmoker and Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Larman donned SCUBA gear and conducted the reconnaissance. Larman, a combat engineer instructor, is an underwater search and rescue volunteer while Schmoker, senior operations non-commissioned officer, is a hobby diver.

Left to right, Staff Sgt. Jacob Thompson assists divers Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Larman and Master Sgt. Brian Schmoker, into Devils Lake at Camp Grafton Training Center, April 22, 2021. The divers were searching for the best place to build a fishing pier.
Left: Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Larman, recovers a bottle used for marking underwater obstacles in Devils Lake at Camp Grafton Training Center, April 22, 2021. Right: Staff Sgt. Brent Mittleider and Staff Sgt. Jacob Thompson, hold a safety rope for Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Larman, during a reconnaissance to determine the best place to build a fishing pier at Camp Grafton Training Center, April 22.

State Support for Military Members

Gov. Doug Burgum, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, N.D. adjutant general, and other elected officials gathered at Memorial Hall at the N.D. capitol for a joint bill-signing event, April 26, 2021. The bills featured in this signing highlighted efforts of North Dakota's 67th Legislative Assembly in support of military members, their dependents, and Veterans.

Gov. Doug Burgum, center, is flanked by Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, right, and N.D. Rep. Brandy Pyle during a bill signing at the N.D. state capitol, April 26, 2021. Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, back row center right, adjutant general and Maj. Jay Sheldon, government affairs officer, joined state officials in commemorating bills in support of military members, their Families and Veterans.
The featured bills and their sponsors.

70 Years Since Korea

In January 1951, the N.D. National Guard's 164th Infantry Regiment and the 188th Field Artillery Battalion were ordered to active military service with the Minnesota National Guard's 47th “Viking” Division in support of the U.S. role in the Korean War. After traveling to their duty station at Camp Rucker, Alabama, they assumed their mission of training Soldiers in infantry and artillery skills. Several N.D. National Guard Soldiers were ordered to serve overseas as replacements, based on the needs of the units fighting in Korea.

War Stories - The Dahl Brothers

Francis E. “Frank” or “Punk” Dahl, now 90, joined Company G, 164th Infantry, Valley City, in 1949 and was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama, along with brothers Lt. Kemet "Bud" Dahl and Sgt. Erling Dahl. Frank was a 19-year-old corporal in 1952 when he was selected for duty in Korea.

“When you're at that age, you're pretty naïve,” Frank said in an interview with the Billings Gazette. “I’d heard of Korea, but that was about it”.

Dahl was assigned to Company I, 35th Infantry Regimental, 25th Division, in the Kumwha area, in the middle of the Korean peninsula. “The first thing I introduced myself with my nickname ‘I'm Punk Dahl.’ Some guy in the bunker said, "If you don't get your head down, you're going to get punked." I didn't realize there was anything going on. He said, ‘Don't you hear it?’

It was like the tick, tick, tick of a fingernail; it was the sound of bullets hitting all around. With experiences like that, you get tuned in pretty quickly”.

Francis “Frank” Dahl, 90, poses with a shadow box highlighting his military career. Courtesy photo.

Dahl can still hear the whoosh of mortars and the smell of cordite, a smokeless propellant used in place of gunpowder. When Dahl’s Company I was replacing Company L on the line at Sniper’s Ridge in September 1951, he jumped into a foxhole and found the Co. L occupant to be Everett Gibbins, formerly of Company E, 164th Infantry. The Gibbins brothers' story appears in the April 2, 2021 issue of the TAG Line.

An forward observer later told Dahl that the Chinese were crawling like ants on the back side of the ridge during the transition. Dahl, now a platoon sergeant, was checking on his Soldiers in the Heartbreak Ridge area when he was notified his tour of duty was complete and he was going home. He served a year in the war.

Frank Dahl now lives in Billings, Montana. His brother Kenneth was recalled to the Navy for Korea. Their dad, Kembel, had served in Company G, 164th Infantry, prior to WWII, and all four of Frank’s sons served in the U.S. Marines or U.S. Navy.

Military Child Family Fun Color Run

Over 60 Military and family members participated in the N.D. National Guard's Child and Youth Program / Military Teen Council's first-ever 1.5K "Month of the Military Child Family Fun Color Run" in Bismarck, April 24, 2021. This was one of five events to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. Participants also played games, danced and got their faces painted prior to the run. After the run, each child was presented with a medal stating “We serve too”.

Madisyn Lowe ran through purple calk being thrown by Hailey McEvers, Military Teen Council member, and her friend Austin at Normandy Park in Bismarck, April 24, 2021.

Face painting activities for children before the 5k run at Normandy Park, Bismarck, April 24, 2021.
Amy Champagne rides her bike through purple calk being thrown by Hailey McEvers, Military Teen Council member, and her friend Austin at Normandy Park in Bismarck, April 24.

The N.D. National Guard Child and Youth Program has resources for National Guard Families and free events for military youth all year round. You can follow them on Facebook for more information at: North Dakota National Guard Youth. If you would like to be added to our child and youth distro list for monthly updates on events, and to get the monthly activity packet email mandy.r.malo.ctr@mail.mil or call 701-333-3822.

Serving the Community

Sgt. Justin Phillips, 817th Engineer Company (SAPPER), serves his community in both his military and civilian jobs. In addition to serving in the N.D. National Guard, he's a deputy sheriff with the Cass County Sheriff's Office. (National Guard story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nick Quam, 817th Engineer Company)

The Cass County Sheriff Office is committed to making themselves visible in their communities and build trust between their department and the communities they serve. Phillips says that "he carries his N.D. Guard values with him every day in his civilian career while serving his community".

Deputy Sheriff Justin Phillips, greets children and hands out stickers, in Casselton, N.D., April 21, 2021. (Courtesy photo)

Sporting Her Shot

In her free time, Pfc. Helen Devitt applied her skills in graphic design and fashion to celebrate her membership on Team Vaccination. She's a traditional Soldier assigned as a supply specialist with the 131st Military Police Battalion. Devitt is currently serving on N.D. National Guard's COVID-19 Response Task Force. (National Guard story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland, N.D. National Guard Public Affairs)

To encourage people to consider receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, Devitt designed a t-shirt logo expressing her thoughts on the subject. She had the opportunity to wear her design to work on the N.D. National Guard’s “Demin Day”, April 21, 2021. Soldiers and civilians were encouraged to wear denim to raise awareness about the U.S. Army sexual harassment and assault response programs.

“Other members on the COVID-19 task force have asked me to make a t-shirt for them to wear,” Devitt said. She is thrilled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published guidelines that fully vaccinated people can enjoy the outdoors without a face mask. When it comes to vaccinations, Devitt wanted to lead from the front by expressing her thoughts that COVID-19 vaccinations are important for the resumption of normality.

Pfc. Helen Devitt models the T-shirt she designed encouraging people to think about the COVID-19 vaccination.

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