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    Retiring ND Vietnam veteran among last in Air Force



    Courtesy Story

    North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs

    FARGO, N.D. — When a North Dakota Air National guardsman retires this weekend, it will end an era in the U.S. Air Force. Chief Master Sgt. James E. Clemenson is the last enlisted airman to have been stationed in Vietnam to retire from the Air Force. After spending nearly 40 years as a “Happy Hooligan,” Clemenson will be honored during a 3 p.m. retirement ceremony Saturday at the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo, N.D.

    Clemenson did two tours with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from October 1970 through April 1972. Only one other active airman — Chief Master Sgt. Jim Honeycutt — still remains in service that wears a Vietnam Service Ribbon, although it’s for temporary duty in country versus a mobilization.

    Clemenson and Honeycutt’s status is among active-duty airmen and does not include traditional guardsmen, on which no clear statistics were available. While a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard’s Happy Hooligans, Clemenson has been serving on active-duty with the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C.

    Clemenson’s career began in January 1970 when he enlisted into the Army. In his two Vietnam tours, we served as a UH-1 Huey helicopter door gunner, a U-21 turboprop crew chief and worked in unit supply. He received an honorable discharge in 1972 and enlisted into the North Dakota Air National Guard the following year. In the Guard, he worked as a flightline supervisor in aircraft maintenance until 1998, when he was selected as the chief enlisted manager for the alert detachment that the 119th Wing had at Langley Air Force Base, Va., at that time.

    Three years later, he was selected as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 12th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Later in 2001, he was chosen as the executive assistant for the National Guard Bureau’s Counterdrug Division. He has served in his current role, as the National Guard Bureau joint staff senior enlisted manager, since 2007. In that role, Clemenson is responsible for keeping the National Guard Bureau director of the joint staff apprised of all issues for Airmen and Soldiers in the joint staff.

    WHO: Chief Master Sgt. James E. Clemenson

    WHAT: Retirement Ceremony

    WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, June 4

    WHERE: North Dakota Air National Guard Heritage Park, 1400 32nd Ave. N., Fargo, N.D.

    MEDIA: Please call 701-238-6944 to arrange an escort onto base at 2:45 p.m. Saturday if you are interested in covering the retirement ceremony.

    Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about a dozen North Dakota guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.



    Date Taken: 06.02.2011
    Date Posted: 06.02.2011 08:06
    Story ID: 71467
    Location: FARGO, ND, US 

    Web Views: 496
    Downloads: 1