Dalton Haugen has joined the U.S. Army under the Delayed Entry Program. The program gives young men and women the opportunity to delay entering active duty for up to one year.
Haugen, a 2009 graduate of Minot High School, will report to Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga., for basic training in June 2009. He is the son of Mark Haugen and Kimberly Haugen, both of Minot.
Garrison soldier participates in presidential inauguration
BISMARCK A North Dakota Army National Guard soldier from Garrison participated in the inauguration of the nation's 44th president in Washington, D.C. last month.
Master Sgt. Ken Baer worked for the Public Affairs Office Visual Information branch of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee by documenting the military support provided to the inaugural parade with photographic images and video.
AFIC is a joint service committee comprised of all branches of the military including National Guard and Reserve. Its mission is to coordinate military ceremonial participation and support of inaugural events including color guards and marching bands. Nearly 700 service members were assigned to AFIC during the presidential inauguration this year.
Baer, who works as a public affairs specialist as a traditional Guardsmen, was chosen to support AFIC from Jan. 3 to Jan. 24 after applying for the duty through the Guard Knowledge Online Web site. He has long worked in the Army public affairs arena including a 2006-2007 mobilization to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility with the N.D. National Guard's 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
In Washington, Baer was in charge of coordinating and scheduling engagements for a photographer and videographer who worked with him.
"My job was to ensure everything was taken care of prior to the inauguration so the other two members of my team could complete their assignments," he said. "We spent hours preparing in an effort to eliminate any possible glitches."
On inauguration day, the team documented all military participation in the equestrian portion of the inaugural parade. Baer and his team began work at 2 a.m. to take photos of the staging area where military personnel loaded trailers and saddled horses. Although the parade wasn't scheduled to start until 3 p.m., early divisions of the parade were at their staging areas by 9:30 a.m.
"On a normal day, the early staging wouldn't have been an issue, but the outside temps on inauguration day were in the upper 20s with gusty winds," Baer said. "It was extremely hard on many of the marching bands performing in the parade. Their uniforms are not designed for cold weather."
In addition to documenting the equestrian activities involved in the inaugural parade, Baer was also assigned to videotape the entire parade route during an inauguration rehearsal. The video of the parade route was used by AFIC and the Presidential Inaugural Committee to identify any areas that might cause problems during the event and to complete planning on the parade. In order to cover the route, Baer found a ride in the side car of a Metropolitan Police Department motorcycle.
"Like my kids would say, the entire event was 'way cool,' " he said. "Though we had heard constantly before inauguration day that the crowds were going to be large, it was still a shock to see the streets completely full of people trying to get onto the National Mall."
N.D. woman working on Army community issues
BISMARCK A North Dakota National Guard volunteer was among 117 delegates - and only nine National Guard representatives - selected to attend the recent Army Family Action Plan Worldwide Conference in Alexandria, Va.
Kathy Benson, of Wolford, worked on issues relevant to the Army Community: Soldiers, Families, retirees, Department of the Army civilians and employers.
"Kathy has attended this conference in the past and is highly regarded as a representative," said Rob Keller, Family Program Office director for the N.D. National Guard. "She represents not only North Dakota but the entire National Guard on issues relevant to the families of National Guard members."
This was Benson's fourth year of participating in the AFAP Conference, having gone in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
At this year's conference, Benson and other delegates reviewed 67 issues of interest to the Army Community. Each of eight subject-specific work groups sent two issues forward. For Benson, whose group focused on family support, the issues chosen to advance included "Collaborative Community Support of Severely Wounded, Injured and Ill Soldiers and their Families."
The second issue Benson's group advanced was "Availability of Respite Care for Primary Caregivers of Severely Wounded, Injured and Ill Soldiers."
The next step for all 16 issues will be review at the General Officers Steering Committee meeting this summer.
"It was a very challenging week, but the results are enormous - a truly rewarding sense of accomplishment to see things 'get done' and be part of it," Benson said.