Hooah! Salute honors Forks-based Guard unit
GRAND FORKS - Gov. John Hoeven unbuttoned his dress shirt at the Grand Forks National Guard Armory on Saturday to reveal a T-shirt displaying the word "HOOAH!"...
GRAND FORKS - Gov. John Hoeven unbuttoned his dress shirt at the Grand Forks National Guard Armory on Saturday to reveal a T-shirt displaying the word "HOOAH!"
The word is a widely known motivational and unifying shout used by Army soldiers. Hoeven spoke Saturday at the "Freedom Salute and Homecoming Tribute" for the Grand Forks-based 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment's Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment unit, which returned in January from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.
Kadyn Tallman, a 1-year-old from Minot, wore a miniature camouflage uniform with a patch that boasts his last name, just like his dad's uniform.
Sgt. John Tallman is one of 39 1-188th ADA (RAID) soldiers mobilized in November 2006 and deployed in January 2007. The soldiers returned home in January 2008. Tallman has returned to his job but says that's not the biggest part of being home.
"I've just been learning about him," he said of his son, who was born while Tallman was overseas. "I didn't meet him until he was over 4 months old."
While the RAID soldiers were in Afghanistan, they provided security surveillance, using special camera systems and sensors in seven locations. They replaced the 1-188th ADA Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Elevated Netted Sensor, also out of North Dakota.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Maj. Gen. Dave Sprynczynatyk spoke at the ceremony. A letter by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., was read to the crowd, as he could not attend.
Soldiers' children were recognized with future soldier kits and youth service medals. Tallman placed the medal around his young son's neck as they both smiled.
Spc. Joe Heck, 20, Mandan, N.D., sat with his mother, brother and aunt, who wore matching red North Dakota National Guard T-shirts.
"It's different," Heck said of being home. "I have a lot more free time, and it's nice to see all my friends when I want."
Heck will attend North Dakota State University in the fall.
His mother, Dawn Heck, was honored with a Family Readiness Volunteer Service Award for her work in Bismarck while the soldiers were gone. Joe Heck's grandmother, Ida Heck, who passed away in November, also was honored for her avid letter-writing and the packages full of cookies she sent the troops. Awards were given out to families and employers of the soldiers, along with the plaques, medallions and American flag each soldier received.
The 1-188th RAID is well- decorated, as 17 soldiers received Combat Action Badges, 16 received Army Achievement Medals and 14 got ceremonial unit coins from the 82nd Airborne Division for their work overseas.
Thirteen of the 39 soldiers have been promoted since deployment, and six have re-enlisted. Some of the soldiers honored Saturday had returned from their second and third deployments.
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