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Fargo native among 77 soldiers to be honored at US Army All-American Bowl

SAN ANTONIO - While Bison fans tune in to cheer on North Dakota State University today in Frisco, Texas, one Fargo native will be honored five hours away in the Alamodome at the nation's premier high school All-American football game.

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SAN ANTONIO - While Bison fans tune in to cheer on North Dakota State University today in Frisco, Texas, one Fargo native will be honored five hours away in the Alamodome at the nation's premier high school All-American football game.

Capt. Mark Herman, a 1999 Fargo South graduate, is one of 77 soldiers being honored at this year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

The annual bowl game, played since 2000, traditionally features the top-tier high school football players in the nation, many of whom have gone on to play in the NFL.

But the event is also a time to honor decorated servicemen and women, such as Herman, who has received both the Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal.

Herman, 31, served in Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. He was a flight platoon leader there, overseeing 25 soldiers and six Blackhawks.

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After his tour in Iraq, Herman served in Afghanistan as a company commander from 2009 until last fall.

Herman said it was rewarding to participate in the Army Bowl festivities this past week, during which the honored soldiers helped mentor the 90 or so athletes participating in today's game.

Herman was specifically assigned to serve as a mentor to Erik Magnuson, an offensive tackle from California who has committed to play at the University of Michigan in the fall.

"The message to all of them is they have the world at their feet," Herman said of the student-athletes. "They have their choice of colleges across the country, and they're the best athletes in the nation."

"Along with that talent, there's great responsibility, and there's always the possibility to get on the wrong track," he added.

Herman said the athletes and soldiers share a common bond of "what it means to be a person of integrity and moral and physical courage."

"Soldiers can relate very well to athletes," he said.

Herman grew up in Fargo and is a West Point graduate. He's been an active-duty aviation officer for seven years.

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He is stationed in College Station, Texas, where he's attending Texas A&M University to earn a master's degree in business administration.

Today's game will be broadcast at noon on NBC.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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