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Armed Forces Day

5/15/2004:

Today is Armed Forces Day, which brings to mind the five ND Guardsmen who have died in Iraq during the past year: Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hendrickson, 41, of Bismarck; Sgt. Keith Smette, 25, of Makoti; Spc. James Holmes, 28, of East Grand Forks; Pvt. Philip Brown, 21, of Jamestown; and Spc. Jon Fettig, 30, of Dickinson.

North Dakota Guardsmen have been fighting and dying in foreign wars for more than a century. For the past two days we’ve talked about the 1st North Dakota Cavalry in the 1898 Spanish-American War and its Infantry in the Philippine-American War. Those early volunteers formed the nucleus around which our current-day Guard was built.

In 1917, the 1st North Dakota was also ordered into federal service during World War I, when it was renamed the 164th Infantry. In 1942, the 164th landed on Guadacanal to reinforce the First Marine Division, becoming the very first U.S. Army unit to take offensive action against the Japanese during World War II.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm