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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard Retirees and Vets honored at Camp Ripley

This year the Minnesota National Guard recognized eight former members of the Minnesota National Guard by inducting them into the Court of Honor at the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley  Maj. Gen. Rick Erlandson, Maj. Gen. (Bvt) Harry Sieben, Brig Gen Nicholas Ostapenko, Brig Gen (Bvt) Dennis Lord, Col Dirk Gasterland, Col (Bvt) Nathan Thomas, Chief Warrant Officer Five Thomas Wilharber, and Sgt Maj Anthony Nathe  Each of these men were influential to the advancement of the Minnesota National Guard during their career's and continue to serve both the Minnesota National Guard and their communities in their retirements

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During the induction ceremony, held at Camp Ripley on Oct 3, 2010, each of the men spoke on how humbling it is to be selected by the Minnesota National Guard to receive this tremendous honor and to be included amongst the other distinguished members of this prestigious group of honorees

Following the induction ceremony the crowd of more than 400 family, friends and Minnesota National Guard members moved from the John W Vessey Recreation Center to the Court of Honor where the names of the eight men were unveiled on the granite tablet

In order to be selected for the Court of Honor a member must be nominated  The nominator must complete an application and turn it into the Minnesota Memorialization Board  The board reviews all applications and selects honorees  The applicant must have significantly contributed during their career, and after retirement, to make an impact on the Minnesota National Guard or in their community  They must also have been retired from the Minnesota National Guard; living or deceased Recipients of the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, or the Minnesota Medal for Valor are also eligible to be nominated two years after receiving their award The board is comprised of current and retired Minnesota Army and Air National Guard members of whom Maj. Gen. Rodney Hannula (Ret) serves as the Chairman of the Board

Part of the Court of Honor ceremony this year included a tribute to some of the Bataan Death March survivors from the 194th Tank Battalion  The Minnesota National Guard honored these seven men as heroes and role models for their strength, determination, and service  The men were presented with coins from their former unit, the Minnesota Distinguished Service Medal (the highest honor the State of Minnesota can present to a service member) and a proclamation by the Governor of Minnesota establishing Oct 3, 2010 as 194th Tank Battalion Day

This was truly a memorable event for all of those involved and now the names of these men will forever be on public display as a testament of their service to the Minnesota National Guard, their State and Nation

By 1st Lt Kenneth Toole
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Minnesota National Guard
3 Oct 2010

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