Showing posts with label North Dakota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Dakota. Show all posts

Monday, June 1, 2020

2 Airmen dead after shooting at Grand Forks

Shooting at Grand Forks Air Force Base leaves two airmen dead

Military Times
Stephen Losey
June 1, 2020

Two active-duty airmen from the 319th Reconnaissance Wing are dead after an early-morning shooting at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota Monday. (Airman 1st Class Brody Katka/Air Force)
Two active-duty airmen from the 319th Reconnaissance Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota are dead after an early-morning shooting at the base.

The base said in a release that the shooting happened at about 4:30 a.m., and that emergency services at the base responded to the scene. Grand Forks said the situation is “contained,” and that there is not believed to be any further risk to personnel.
read it here

Friday, May 15, 2020

Stolen Valor: Phony Marine hit by $1.7 million judgment

Veteran Duped by Phony Marine Awarded $1.7 Million in Stolen Valor Case
By Patricia Kime
14 May 2020

"The District Court was provided with proof that Mr. Shannon had fabricated many of the newly produced 'Top Secret' redacted documents in his 'VA file' ... and was presented with proof that Mr. Shannon had forged what he claimed was his DD214," an appellee brief to the Montana Supreme Court states.

A man holds an Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin in his hand.
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Timothy Lenzo)

Montana's highest court has upheld a judgment against a Lynchburg, Virginia, man who solicited at least one investor in his business dealings by claiming to have been a U.S. Marine.

The Montana Supreme Court last month upheld a lower court's decision ordering Laron Shannon, formerly of Kalispell, Montana, to pay $1.7 million in damages to Donald Kaltschmidt, of Whitefish. Kaltschmidt, according to the court, gave Shannon $250,000 to invest in a company Shannon said would hire veterans to clean oil rigs in eastern Montana and North Dakota.

But Shannon, who often wore Marine apparel such as caps and knit shirts with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and portrayed himself as a former Marine officer, never served on active duty as a commissioned Marine, according to court documents. When asked early during the court proceedings to produce a DD-214 record of service document, he did not immediately produce it.

read it here

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

#MissingVeteran Alert Wisconsin

update He has been found!

Green Alert: ‘At risk’ veteran missing in Western Wisconsin

TMJ4 News
By: Marty Hobe
Updated: 23 minutes ago

A Wisconsin veteran suffering from PTSD has been reported missing, triggering the state’s green alert system for at risk veterans.

Shaun Michael Wischmann, 36, of Altoona, Wisconsin has been missing since Monday.

In addition to PTSD, he also suffers from depression. The family thinks he might be traveling to North Dakota and may have a handgun in his possession.

Wischmann was last seen wearing a black button down shirt, jeans and a black jacket. He has a tattoo on his left arm as a memorial to veterans he served with.

He is driving a 2014 Chevy Cruze with a Minnesota license plane with the number 851DV.

Anyone with information about Wischmann’s whereabouts should call Altoona Police at 715-839-6090.
go here for updates

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony James Dean and family killed in accident

Update: Air Force family in fatal highway accident identified

Valley News
Joshua Peguero
November 23, 2018

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D (Valley News Live) – Update: Staff Sgt. Anthony James Dean, 25, assigned to the 69th Maintenance Squadron, was killed in a vehicle accident near Billings, Montana, over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dean’s remains were recovered alongside those of his wife, Chelsi Kay Dean, 25. Also deceased in the accident are their two daughters Kaytlin Merie Dean, 5, and Avri James Dean, 1.

“Words are not enough during a time like this,” said Maj. Eric Inkenbrandt, 69th Maintenance Squadron commander. “AJ’s family brought a light to our maintenance community, and this loss strikes each of us deeply. May their friends and family be granted the strength and serenity to get through this sorrowful time.”

Montana Highway Patrol discovered the accident scene early Saturday morning after searching for the missing family since Thanksgiving Day. Initial reports indicate they were traveling on Interstate 94 when the vehicle went off the road, eventually coming to rest in a creek. The crash remains under investigation by the Montana Highway Patrol.
read more here

Friday, July 27, 2018

North Dakota did not protect veterans looking for help?

North Dakota Veterans’ personal information at risk, audit says
Bismark Tribune
James B. Miller, Jr. Forum News Service
Jul 24, 2018
Most notably, the audit found that the Veteran Aid Loan System was outsourced to a vendor without the department receiving an exemption from the Information Technology Department, meaning that, since 2005, information from veterans including credit history, debt-to-income ratio, discretionary income, spousal income, discharge information and more were hosted by an unvetted vendor.
In an extensive report, the Office of the State Auditor recently expressed concerns with the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs’ handling of the veteran aid loan, hardship assistance grant, impact grant and highly rural transportation grant programs.

The report stems from a performance audit conducted on the NDDVA beginning in October 2017 and concluding on March 28, 2018. The effort was headed by Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, and the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee.

The Veterans Aid Loan Program is a permanent revolving fund for eligible veterans and surviving spouses to receive funds for relief or assistance. The audit found that to obtain a loan, the Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs required applicants to have the financial ability to repay the loan. However, neither ACOVA or the NDDVA had established underwriting guidelines to use when determining an applicant’s financial ability to repay the loan.
Attempts to reach North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen and Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Dean Overby for comment went unanswered.
read more here

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Deceased Vietnam Veterans Surviving Spouses Recognized

Honoring the wives of Vietnam veterans
FOX Dakota
By John Salling
Mar 16, 2018

MANDAN, N.D. - The spouse of a Vietnam veteran received a special honor as part of the Vietnam War Commemoration. The 50th anniversary of the war began in 2012 and will continue through 2025.
One of the honors available during the commemoration is the Deceased Vietnam Veteran's Surviving Spouse pin.

Friday was the funeral of Dr. Gary Wall, a dentist that served during the Vietnam war. His spouse Loretta is the first to receive this new pin at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

"Think of the family also. The soldiers of course, a lot of them gave their life, but I think it's important also for the wives and mothers back home, and fathers. They grieved every day," Loretta Wall said.

James Nelson, a Vietnam veteran, says that they never got a welcome home, but honors and recognition of service help make up for that.

"The family member sacrifices just as much as the veteran does, and especially in the Vietnam era veteran there is a lot of issues, unresolved issues that we're still working on, and it's just to recognize these people," Nelson said.
read more here

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Air Force AWOL Found in Florida After 40 Years

Missing veteran found 40 years later leading double life

New York Post
By Jackie Salo
October 17, 2017

A U.S. Air Force veteran who vanished while on active duty was discovered 40 years later living a double life in Florida.

Jeffrey Michels, 64, went missing from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota in July 1977 — only to be found last week using an alias with a wife and kids in Sanford, Florida.

Authorities said that Michels had gone by the name Jeffrey Lantz, which he used to get a license for construction company in 1998, news station WFTV reported.

read more here

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Candlelight Vigil For Missing Veteran Julia Jacobson


"Won't Give up": Vigil Held for Missing Army Veteran Julia Jacobson

The 37-year-old retired Army captain was last spotted on surveillance by police in Ontario, California a little more than a week ago. Surveillance at a Kearny Mesa 7/11 caught her on camera earlier that same day.

Candlelight vigil held for missing Army veteran

September 17, 2017
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday night as the search for a missing U.S. Veteran continues. 

37-year-old Julia Jacobson was last seen Labor Day weekend at a Serra Mesa 7-Eleven, according to a social media page dedicated to finding her. 
Concerned friends, neighbors and community volunteers canvass neighborhoods around Jacobson's Idaho Street home last weekend in hopes of jogging a crucial memory from someone who may have seen her over the last week. That canvass has yet to bring up any addition information. . 
Jacobson's company car, a white Chevrolet Equinox, was found abandoned two weeks ago on the 2600 block of Monroe Avenue, a few blocks from her home, with the keys in the ignition and the windows all partially rolled down.
Police subsequently determined that Jacobson -- a corporate real estate broker for 7-Eleven who deployed to Iraq twice during her military career -- had been in Ontario on Saturday night, SDPD Lt. Mike Holden said. Why she was there and whether she indeed had been in the Riverside County desert, as well, that evening remained under investigation, he said.
Detectives have spoken with Jacobson's ex-husband, who lives in Arizona, and found him cooperative, according to Holden.
The missing woman's older sister, Casey Jacobson of North Dakota, described the circumstances of her sibling's disappearance as puzzling, saying the former servicewoman would never willingly leave her work vehicle unsecured with the ignition key and a company gas card inside.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

North Dakota Police Officer Fights For PTSD Benefits and Justice

“I’m going to tell my story”: Williston officer fights for benefits after traumatic call results in PTSD
Williston Herald
Elizabeth Hackeburg
August 19, 2017

“There is no mechanism in North Dakota Century Code that allows WSI to pay for mental injury such as PTSD or any other health services without a physical injury on the job. The last time the North Dakota legislature looked at this issue was during the 2015 session, and the bill was defeated.”

Williston police officer Bill Holler was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in June after effectively witnessing a gruesome suicide. He is on unpaid leave and fighting for financial assistance from North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance, despite his claim's denial based on state law. Elizabeth Hackenburg • Williston Herald

A Williston police officer who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder several months ago after responding to a horrifying call is fighting for financial assistance from a state agency that helps workers who are injured on the job.

Officer Bill Holler says he is paying for medical treatment, including psychiatric visits and medication, with his own money, and has appealed to North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance three times to help cover the costs after his claim was denied. 
The agency told Holler that under the state’s Century Code, physical injuries, as well as mental harm that is accompanied by a physical injury, are eligible for compensation, but “a mental injury arising from mental stimulus” is not covered. 
read more here

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Three North Dakota Marines Committed Suicide Within Last Month

Addressing PTSD, Suicide Among Marines
KX News
Posted: Jun 24, 2016

Three North Dakota marines took their own lives within the last month.

Commandant Raymond Morrell says those are not statistics that are well known, nor should they be, but through the Marine Corps League, he says future statistics should not be so grim.

Morrell says military members know better than most that battles continue to be fought at home.

He says whatever you choose to call it: PTSD, combat issues, or what he 'less than stellar conditions,' he says the way to heal is through camaraderie, and the best camaraderie comes from a fellow veteran.

(Raymond Morrell, Dakota Leathernecks Detachment #1419) "One of the best resources they have, is someone to talk to. You tell me, who understands marines better than a fellow marine? As fellow marines, that's one of the biggest issues. One life. The ability to save one life. That's what I feel we're here to do."
read more here - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Stopped Sucking It Up and Stepped Up To Help Others With PTSD

Vietnam: Staff Sgt. Ronald Wahl, of Wing
Bismarck Tribune
Jenny Schlecht
May 15, 2016

Wahl had what is now known as post traumatic stress disorder. There was little help for dealing with the trauma of war back then.
Ronald Wahl served in the infantry for some of the most famed operations of the Vietnam War: Nine Days in May, Operation Francis Marion and others.

“It got pretty dicey at times,” he said.

Now, 50 years later, he still deals with what happened over there.

“It will never leave. It’s always there in some degree,” he said.

Wahl was 19 when he was drafted. He completed nine months of training at Fort Lewis in Washington, then went to Vietnam in September 1966 as part of the Third Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of the Fourth Infantry Division.

“It was my time to go, so I went and did the best I could,” said Wahl, who was a squad leader and sometimes would fill in as necessary as a platoon sergeant and lead the 40 or so men.

Was he prepared for that kind of an assignment at 19, 20?

“No choice,” he laughs. “I wanted to do the best I could for the guys.”
“I had trouble adjusting and self medicating,” he said.

Wahl had what is now known as post traumatic stress disorder. There was little help for dealing with the trauma of war back then, he said.

“It was more or less just passed over, because no one wanted to look at it,” he said, referring to it as a “suck-it-up situation.”
read more here

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blind Iraq War Veteran Needs Out of Trailer Home

Iraq War veteran and 970 WDAY host Eric Marts selected to receive home, but has trouble finding a spot to build it
By Kevin Wallevand
Nov 27, 2015
"I want to be close to Moorhead. My family is here and my whole support system is here and the VA is here which I have to frequent a lot," Marts said.
Moorhead (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead veteran who lost his sight after an IED blast while serving in Iraq is close to getting a special home to meet his needs thanks to a non-profit that helps vets. Homes For Our Troops selected Eric Marts as its latest recipient for a home, but because homes and land are so hard to come by in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the plan to move ahead has been on hold for months.

We followed Eric Marts to Washington DC recently during our Honor Flight special. The 970 WDAY radio host spends every weekend promoting veteran causes, but he rarely talks about his needs.

"A trailer house is all I have right now," Marts said.

His home now is anything but handy for a blind person.

"Not wide enough for Deacon and I to get through, too compacted and the kitchen is so small. I have to have everything laid out," Marts said.

The national charity Homes For Our Troops has built 200 homes nationwide for paralyzed, injured or blind soldiers like Eric.
read more here

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vietnam Veteran Among 60 Lives Saved By Organ Donor

A friend said I should offer a warning before going to the link to watch the video on this. Make sure you have tissues first.
Family Mourns Organ Donor Son, But ‘Hears’ Heartbeat In Vietnam Vet He Saved
November 26, 2014
Matt Heisler, a 21-year-old organ donor attending the University of North Dakota, probably wasn’t aware that he would be called to service at such a young age, but it was never a decision he took lightly, according to his dad.

“He made the decision that if life ever slipped away from him, he would give life to someone else,” said Jared Heisler.

And since Matt’s untimely death in a house fire in March, he’s been on a life-saving spree. KARE 11 reports that Matt has helped more than 60 people, including a 46-year-old woman, who received one of Matt’s kidneys. The other went to a 56-year-old woman. His liver saved the life of a 61-year-old man.

But perhaps most touching of all because the Heislers could actually hear it; his heart went to a Vietnam veteran diagnosed with the potentially deadly condition of amyloidosis.

Tom Meeks was told that without a heart transplant, he would not be able to survive. He was passed over three times due to his age, but the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota, was finally able to conduct the life-saving operation thanks to Matt’s decision to become an organ donor at 16.

The Heislers — his parents and younger sister, Casey — finally got to meet Meeks this month, eight months after they said goodbye to their loved one. Casey broke down when she heard her brother’s heartbeat working inside Meeks’ chest.
read more here

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

North Dakota National Guardsman's Family Talks About Suicide

For Tom: After losing soldier son to suicide, family seeks to dispel stigmas
Jamestown Sun
By Ryan Johnson
Sep 22, 2014
Dave Lautt and Beth Doyle-Lautt reminisce about their son, Spc. Thomas Avery Doyle, from their home in Jamestown. David Samson / Forum News Service

JAMESTOWN — Beth Doyle-Lautt has gotten used to the clutter in her house.

A basement room is filled with boxes and totes, tools and extra furniture.

The shed her husband, Dave Lautt, bought to store his new Harley-Davidson in last year is too full for the motorcycle, which now stands in the garage that doesn’t have room for their pickup.

"It’s too soon to get rid of anything and too soon to even go through it yet," he said. "We will; we’ll get there. It’s just on our terms."

Since Sept. 7, 2013, it’s been easier to keep busy than dwell on the loss they suffered that day when their son, Thomas Avery Doyle, a specialist in the North Dakota National Guard who served in Kuwait, died by suicide at the age of 22.

The couple have since worked to break through the stigma surrounding mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder within the military and the world at large — something they believe contributed to their son’s suffering and eventual death.
read more here

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Air Force has "morale issues"

SECAF Has Picked Up on 'Morale Issues'
Associated Press
by James MacPherson
Jan 23, 2014

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. - The top civilian leader in the Air Force says she senses morale issues among airmen and officers in charge of the nation's nuclear force but remains confident in its mission.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James visited the three bases that care for the arsenal Tuesday and Wednesday.

Her trip was in response to cheating and drug scandals the Air Force announced last week as well as other missteps The Associated Press revealed last year.

James visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming Tuesday, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana Tuesday and Wednesday and finished the fact-finding tour Wednesday at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

She met with 1,700 officers and airmen and later briefly answered questions.

James says she wishes the trouble didn't happen.

James has been on the job for a month. Last week, she said the Air Force is investigating 11 officers suspected of illegal drug possession. Three of the 11 are in nuclear missile units.
read more here

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Senator Heidi Heitkamp says "Veterans not just statistics"

Letter: Veterans not just statistics
By: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
November 12, 2013

Six years ago, Eric Marts was in Iraq. He had joined the National Guard and was deployed to Fallujah for 22 months. While on patrol outside Fallujah, he was hit by a roadside bomb that exploded. Eric survived, but the bomb fully blinded him.

Six years ago, Eric Marts was in Iraq. He had joined the National Guard and was deployed to Fallujah for 22 months. While on patrol outside Fallujah, he was hit by a roadside bomb that exploded. Eric survived, but the bomb fully blinded him.

After returning home, Eric visited a blind rehab center, undergoing months of rehabilitation, and received a guide dog, Deacon, who has been Eric’s eyes ever since. Dedicated to helping and inspiring others, Eric now has his own radio show in Fargo on WDAY-AM 970 on Saturday mornings called “Heroes of the Heartland,” which focuses on service members, veterans and families – offering an outlet for those who have served to reach each other and share their stories.

Eric’s is a story of a man overcoming great obstacles and persevering. It’s a story of success. But it could have turned out very differently. All across the country, we hear about service members coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places across the globe, struggling to catch themselves and integrate back into society.

We hear about the high rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans, and see the internal pain so many of them face. We hear about the large numbers of unemployed young veterans struggling to transition to civilian jobs. And we hear about the high rates of homelessness among veterans of all ages unable to support themselves.

These aren’t just statistics – they’re real, personal stories for so many families. And I’m determined to make sure we do everything we can to give our veterans the care and support they have courageously earned.

When I met with veterans, including Eric, in six cities across North Dakota in July, I listened to their stories, witnessed the pain on many of their faces, and pledged to fight for them.
read more here

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why didn't MOH Romesha attend State of Union? Love

Here's a great Valentines Day love story!
Medal of Honor recipient declines State of the Union invite
By Stephen J. Lee Grand Forks Herald
16 minutes ago
Published: February 14, 2013

The Army veteran presented Monday with the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama made the unusual decision to decline the invitation of the first lady to sit beside her during the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington.

According to Capt. Dan Murphy of the North Dakota National Guard, who accompanied former Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha to Washington this week, the quiet hero gave up his box seat to history for reasons similar to why he quit the Army after nearly 12 years: his family and friends.

Tuesday was the 13th wedding anniversary of Romesha and his high school sweetheart, Tammy, who made the trip with him to Washington. She and their three children are the reason he left the Army in 2010, he said last month.
read more here

Monday, December 24, 2012

Daughter surprises dad with replacement medals

Daughter surprises dad with replacement medals
By Steve Wagner - Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer via AP
Posted : Monday Dec 24, 2012

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Two years ago, while vacationing over Christmas, someone broke into Arlin Melgaard’s home.

The bandit made off with nearly everything he and his wife, Wanda, owned: a car parked in the garage, the 2001 retirement gift containing his military medals and badges, the longtime musician’s electric guitars, even canned goods and coffee filters stored in the cupboard.

Over time, the couple had replaced most items, but one piece of his past couldn’t be replaced easily — the shadow box commemorating Melgaard’s Army and reservist career.

On Saturday, the 71-year-old Bemidji man, a 40-year veteran, received re-issued medals, badges and service stripes.

At his bedside at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, daughter Angie Kamin of Fargo presented him a replica of the retirement gift given to him nearly 12 years ago by the North Dakota Army National Guard unit in which he served.

“Those are all my medals,” proclaimed Melgaard, when his daughter surprised him with the shadow box.

“Of all the things I lost ... that was the worst,” he said. “I wondered, ‘Why the hell would anybody take medals that weren’t even theirs?’ It was devastating.”
read more here

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Deployed soldier got lay off notice while risking life in Afghanistan

First read this so you know what happened before this soldier lost his job while deployed to Afghanistan.
Ex-Im $32 million loan guarantee to Brazilian company supported 250 American jobs for … three days
Now read this to get properly ticked off!
ND Soldier Laid Off While Still Overseas
Valley News Live
December 12, 2012

A soldier fighting a war overseas is laid off from his job with no warning but a letter he received a month and half after it was sent out.

The North Dakota soldier is one of many laid off at LM Wind Power in Grand Forks. In all, nearly 350 full-time and temporary employees and contractors lost their jobs.

We had the chance to talk with the soldier about his mindset knowing he does not have a job when he returns home.

That soldier, Gerald Hawk Jr. says he first found out on December 7 when he received a care package from his mother. The care package contained his mail. In that mail was a layoff notice dated September 27.

"The whole situation is a shock," said Hawk Jr.

The letters said things like: "Starting December 1, the layoff is a permanent layoff," "your position will be discontinued due to economic downturn," and "this in no way reflects negatively on the quality of your employment."

To make matters worse, Hawk Jr. has not had the chance to try talking to LM. He says, "Phone access and time difference make it difficult for me to call. Although my supervisor and co-workers had my contact email and my Facebook."
read more here

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Veteran’s Purple Heart comes after struggle to have TBI recognized

Veteran’s Purple Heart comes after struggle to have war injury recognized

FARGO - Saturday was a day more than three years in the making for Iraq War veteran Russell “Rusty” Ouart and his wife, Marilyn.
By: Jessica Ballou,, INFORUM
February 04, 2012
Spc. Russell “Rusty” Ouart, seated, receives a standing ovation during his Purple Heart award ceremonies Saturday morning at the Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center. David Samson / The Forum
FARGO - Saturday was a day more than three years in the making for Iraq War veteran Russell “Rusty” Ouart and his wife, Marilyn.

Three years after suffering a traumatic brain injury from a mortar attack while on duty in Baghdad, Ouart was finally awarded a Purple Heart at a packed ceremony inside the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Fargo.

The Purple Heart is awarded to those killed or injured in war combat, and only under certain conditions.

A former firefighter, Ouart enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard in 2006, though he had previously served in the Navy.

Ouart knew he wanted to join the Guard as soon as he saw footage of the 9/11 attacks. He enlisted when the Army raised the age limit for joining from 35 to 42. He was 41. He had lost more than 70 pounds to meet fitness requirements.

The award ceremony came so long after his injury because of many misdiagnoses by members of the medical and military community. Ouart was told the debilitating headaches, vertigo, short-term memory loss and constant fatigue were all just in his head.

But Ouart and his family refused to believe it was all in his head.

Their quest for treatment took the father of three to a New Orleans-area facility where he and other veterans breathed in 100 percent oxygen in a sealed room. The treatment, once reserved for divers suffering from “the bends,” has caught the eye of the military as a promising option for injured soldiers, and it helped Ouart.

Dr. Paul Harch treated Ouart with that hyperbaric therapy and was on hand for Saturday’s ceremony, but not without difficulty.
read more here