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Salute honors soldiers

CARRINGTON, N.D. - Soldiers from Detachment 2, Company A of the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion of Carrington were honored Friday for two years of active duty at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

CARRINGTON, N.D. - Soldiers from Detachment 2, Company A of the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion of Carrington were honored Friday for two years of active duty at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

During Operation Noble Eagle, 54 soldiers from the detachment served a year as guards at the base, and 24 of those extended their tour for a second year, said Capt. Shane Clemmon of Company A.

The duty freed up Air Force personnel to perform their mission, said Air Force Col. (Ret.) Barbara E. Chine, who commanded the Guard soldiers and integrated them into the Air Force mission at Grand Forks AFB.

"We're here to honor you for what you've done for the war on terror," said Major Gen. Michael Haugen, adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, to the soldiers, families and employers gathered in the Carrington Armory.

Individual soldiers were presented Defender of Freedom lapel pins, a commemorative freedom coin, a Defender of Freedom certificate and a commemorative flag case with a freedom salute medallion honoring the soldier and family.

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Family members received a team lapel pin and employers received freedom medals and lapel pins.

Staff Sgt. Dean McMurray, readiness non-commission officer, was a member of the Army and served in Afghanistan before retiring and joining the National Guard.

Detachment 2 of Company A provided security for the 319th Air Refueling Wing at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. This allowed the Air Force to keep its personnel assigned to the refueling mission, McMurray said.

"It's (Freedom Salute) the state's way of thanking the soldiers for a job well done and giving the community a chance to celebrate," McMurray said.

"The soldiers that went to Iraq and the Air Force bases are setting the standard with a high level of excellence. The state is well known to the Army and Air Force through the job they've done," he added.

SFC Janette Ingebretson, Carrington, was one of the soldiers who served 24 months on active duty. The first tour was at Grand Forks and the second tour was in Bismarck as state liaison officer. Her husband, Todd, was mobilized and sent to Iraq. Their three children stayed in Carrington and their grandparents stayed with them during the week. Ingebretson returned to Carrington on weekends.

"It was trying for everyone," she said. "It was a learning experience. It took a community to make it work."

Their children accepted the responsibility of the situation and did what they had to do, she added.

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As for the community salute, she is pleased the service is being recognized.

Another Freedom Salute is scheduled for 2 p.m. today in Edgeley at the Edgeley Armory and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Wishek Armory.

Maack is a reporter for the Jamestown Sun, a Forum Communications newspaper.

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