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    NTAG Northern Plains Conducts Small Change-of-Command

    Navy Talent Acquisition Group Northern Plains Change of Command

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lindahl | FORT SNELLING, Minn. (Dec. 11 2020) - Cmdr. James Darkenwald salutes Cmdr. James...... read more read more

    FORT SNELLING, Minn. – In a setting demanding less ceremonial presence than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Northern Plains conducted a routine change-of-command in a small ceremony outside of Historic Fort Snelling.

    Cmdr. James Duvall, a native of Twentynine Palms, California, relieved Cmdr. James Darkenwald, a local native of Elk River, in the small, routinely scheduled ceremony.

    In a traditional change of command ceremony, guests can usually expect to see a ceremonial band, sideboys, leadership from the next echelon, an exceptionally large ceremonial flag, boatswain’s pipes and guest speakers. Due to COVID-19 and the Navy’s safety protocols to prevent possible exposure, this change of command was limited to very few spectators to keep the gathering to less than 10 people and was preceded by a verbal turnover with Commander, Navy Recruiting Region West, Capt. Anthony Bayungan.

    Darkenwald, a University of Minnesota graduate, will be leaving his home state to return to the Navy fleet with his family in Yokosuka, Japan.

    “Far from any ocean or sea, it has been a rare opportunity and a great honor to serve the Navy in my home state of Minnesota,” Darkenwald said. “I’ve been fortunate to spend time with my extended family and parents, while continuing the adventure I embarked upon more than 20 years ago. I will miss my crew, and all we have accomplished, immensely -- but my family and I look forward to the next adventure in continuing our service.”

    Duvall assumed command following his tour as the executive officer of NTAG Northern Plains and looks forward to the new challenge.



    “There will definitely be new challenges for me as commanding officer,” Duvall said. “These are challenging times, but Cmdr. Darkenwald and I have been working with this team and preparing for the year ahead, and I am confident that we have all the right pieces in place to ensure mission success.”

    Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the Navy’s modified their recruiting strategy to respond in the most socially appropriate and safe manner possible, including a shift earlier this year to 100% virtual prospecting, and now more of a hybrid of virtual and in-person prospecting while maintaining distance with proper personal protective equipment.

    Prospecting is the act of identifying potential future Sailors who may have an interest in serving. In the past, prospecting was mostly done via high school visits and college/career fairs. Now, the recruiters are moving almost exclusively into the realm of social media and word of mouth referrals to find new applicants.

    “It has been an interesting tour so far, that is for sure,” Duvall said. “But we have had our recruiters able to remote work ever since the command transitioned to the new NTAG recruiting model. I know the changes already implemented helped immensely with our ability to shift to working remotely in a greater capacity, offering our recruiters more agile and tailorable solutions to accomplishing the mission.”

    Duvall was a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Midshipman at the University of Southern California before he received his commission as a surface warfare officer in 2002.

    Duvall's sea duty assignments include duty in amphibious ships and aircraft carriers in the Pacific Fleet. During these tours, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aqaba, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean areas of operation.

    Prior to assuming the position of executive officer at Navy Talent Acquisition Group Northern Plains, he most recently completed his assignment as executive officer aboard the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1).

    NTAG Northern Plains recruiting area includes more than 393,000 square miles and includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, most of Nebraska, the western half of Wisconsin, and portions of Northwestern Illinois. Within the district are 26 recruiting stations organized into 5 divisions. Enlisted and officer processing is conducted at five sites: Fort Snelling, Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Omaha and Fargo. NTAG Northern Plains reports directly to Commander, Navy Recruiting Region West.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.11.2020
    Date Posted: 12.11.2020 14:32
    Story ID: 384806
    Location: FORT SNELLING, MN, US 
    Hometown: ELK RIVER, MN, US
    Hometown: TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA, US

    Web Views: 126
    Downloads: 2

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