News: SD National Guard hosts 29th annual Legislative Dining-Out
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota National Guard hosted the 2013 Legislative Dining-Out at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Pierre, Thursday, Feb. 7. This annual tradition has brought Guardsmen and the state Legislature together for a formal evening for the last 29 years, but the tradition of the dining-out and/or dining-in date back much further.
“The Guard is an organization that is rich in history and tradition,” said Maj. Corey Norris, SDNG legislative liaison officer. “This event provides the Guard an opportunity to honor the legislators by hosting them at a traditional military event where we highlight our significant accomplishments to the community, state and nation.”
The atmosphere, while formal, includes deep-rooted traditions which lighten the mood and provide both members and guests not only plenty of laughs, but a chance to learn some of the organizations history and traditions and an opportunity to recognize individual and/or unit achievements.
The Legislature was also shown a video highlighting 2012 and the many accomplishments made by the men and women of the SDNG. In addition to the many SDNG accomplishments highlighted during the night, the Guard also recognized a family, employer and public servant with an award for their contributions to the SDNG mission.
Pro Patria Award – Daktronics
The awards portion of the dining-out began by presenting Daktronics with the 2012 South Dakota Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (SD ESGR) Pro Patria Award.
The Pro Patria Award is presented to the one employer in the state who provides the most exceptional support of our national defense through leadership practices and personnel policies that support their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Daktronics is a manufacturer and technical contractor that provides electronic display products and custom-designed and integrated systems. Located in Brookings, Daktronics employs more than 2,500 people, including 1st Lt. Cody Becker, a production supervisor and member of Battery A, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion in Aberdeen.
“Employers are inextricably linked to the nation’s defense by sharing their most precious assets, their employees,” said Capt. Lona Christensen, SD ESGR executive director, during the award presentation. “Daktronics is being recognized for their outstanding contributions to the state and nation’s military services. Their leadership exemplifies the patriotic spirit that is alive and well here in our great state of South Dakota.”
“Daktronics has had quite a number of employees who, as members of the South Dakota National Guard, have been called to active duty going back to the Iraq war. These people and their families make significant sacrifices in their personal lives to serve our country,” said Jim Morgan, Daktronics president and CEO. “We feel it is our obligation as their employer to make sure that they know that we are fully supportive of their service to our country. They have enough other things to be concerned about without being concerned about their job.
“Thank you to the leadership of the South Dakota National Guard for this recognition and thank you to all of the members of the Guard for their dedicated service, continued Morgan. “It is much appreciated.”
The Williamson Militiaman Award – Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter (retired) and Maj. Gen. Steven Doohen (retired)
The SDNG next awarded the 2013 Williamson Militiaman Award to Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter (retired), former acting director of the Army National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Steven Doohen (retired), former adjutant general of the SDNG.
The Williamson Militiaman Award was established in 1987 by Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Williamson (retired) to recognize an individual who exemplifies the spirit of the citizen-Soldier as shown by their community leadership, their support of the National Guard and the defense of our country.
Maj. Gen. Carpenter commanded at all levels in the SD Army Guard; from lieutenant to colonel, commanding both the 109th Engineer Battalion and 109th Group. He also served in key, senior-leadership positions as the chief of staff and the assistant adjutant general for the Army Guard, where he was engaged in the initial years of what would be the largest mobilization of the South Dakota National Guard since World War II. Carpenter went on to serve as special assistant to the director of the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C., and was later appointed as the acting director of the Army National Guard, where he served for two-and-a-half years before retiring with more than 44 years of service.
Maj. Gen. Doohen held numerous positions throughout his career in the SD Air Guard to include commander of the 175th Tactical Fighter Group and commander of the 114th Fighter Wing. He later went on to serve as the assistant adjutant general for the Air Guard, and was later appointed as the SDNG’s 20th adjutant general in 2007. As the adjutant general, he guided the preparation of 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, and 950 full-time federal and state employees helping to ensure they were ready to respond in times of state or national emergency. Doohen retired with more than 40 years of service.
Past recipients of the award include: Former Adjutants General Phil Killey and Harold Sykora, former U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson, and former Governors William J. Janklow and M. Michael Rounds.
The Adjutant General’s Family Award – Chief Master Sgt. Bruce and Faye Lee
To conclude the awards portion of the evening, Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch awarded the 2013 Adjutant General’s Family Award to Chief Master Sgt. Bruce and Faye Lee of Valley Springs.
“As the adjutant general, I recognize the vital importance of our families to the success of our National Guard mission,” Reisch said during the award presentation. “The goal of this award is to recognize those family members who support their service members in an exemplary manner while managing family, careers, or even hardship, all the while not seeking recognition for their sacrifices.”
Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Lee is a member of the 114th Operations Group of the SD Air Guard. He and his wife, Faye, have been exceptional supporters of the Air National Guard and the Sioux Falls community. Bruce and Faye have spent countless hours volunteering their time to support local organizations such as The Banquet, the 114th Fighter Wing’s Family Volunteer Group, Project Supply Our Students, the Enlisted Association of South Dakota, Young Heroes Program, Junior Achievement, the Mentoring Program, American Cancer Volunteers, March of Dimes and the Sioux Empire Home Builders Association. They also teach at their local church, belong to the Knights of Columbus, and volunteer with the Neighborhood Coordinator Committee.
Following the awards ceremony and bringing the evening to a close, Gov. Dennis Daugaard addressed the Soldiers, Airmen in attendance. Daugaard specifically thanked Guard members for their continuous support on missions both at home and abroad.
This work, SD National Guard hosts 29th annual Legislative Dining-Out, by MAJ Anthony Deiss and SFC Donald Matthews, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.