News: North Dakota soldier earns state’s first-ever Quartermaster Award
BISMARCK, N.D. – Col. Giselle “Gigi” Wilz became the first N.D. National Guard soldier to be recognized with an award established by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps to recognize excellence in the logistics career field. Col. Mike Aberle, chief of staff for the N.D. Army National Guard, presented her the Distinguished Order of St. Martin (Silver Medallion), in a ceremony at the Raymond Bohn Armory in Bismarck.
Wilz, who was nominated for the award during her tour as commander of the 136th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, has served in various logistic positions during her 29 year National Guard career.
“Gigi Wilz is an outstanding logistician who continues to demonstrate professionalism and dedication to the North Dakota National Guard and the Quartermaster Corps,” said Aberle during the ceremony. “Her long distinguished career has been marked with significant achievements making her worthy of this recognition.”
According to the Association of Quartermasters, Saint Martin is the patron saint of the Quartermaster Regiment and is viewed as soldier-provider, which is fitting for the “Supporting Victory” theme instilled in U.S. Army logistics. There are three levels of the award.
The Distinguished Order of Saint Martin is awarded to soldiers who have performed long-term service for, or on behalf of, the United States Army Quartermaster Corps. The Distinguished Order is reserved for an elite few soldiers or civilians whose careers have embodied the spirit, dignity and sense of sacrifice and commitment epitomized by Saint Martin.
“In my opinion, Col. Wilz has far exceeded the requirements for this award during her tenure as battalion commander,” said Maj. Mark McEvers, executive officer of the 136th CSSB. “It was an honor to serve with her.”
Wilz explained that she didn’t receive the award for any one specific job, but rather for the cumulative years of experience she has as a Quartermaster officer. She is the first Quartermaster officer in the N.D. Army National Guard who had sufficient years with accompanying responsibilities in Quartermaster related jobs to qualify for this award. She career is unique because she also has experience as an Engineer officer.
“I am extremely appreciative of receiving this award,” said Wilz. “It is truly an honor to be considered for this recognition. I’ve been truly blessed to serve with excellent soldiers during my career and this award is a tribute to their contributions to the Army logistics field.”
Wilz enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1983. She earned her commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps in 1986 through the North Dakota National Guard Officer Candidate School. She served as an Engineer officer from 1993-1997, and from 1999-2008.
During Operation Desert Storm, Wilz served as the water operations officer for the 132nd Quartermaster Company, Cando, N.D., from September 1990 to June 1991. She also deployed as the military operations and training officer with the NDNG-led multi-national force as part of KFOR-12 in Kosovo. KFOR-12 was comprised of about 2,200 U.S. and foreign soldiers.
Other positions she’s held throughout her nearly 30 years of military experience include, platoon leader in 815th Medical Company; detachment commander and operations officer for the 136th Quartermaster Battalion; company commander and operations officer for the 164th Engineer Group, which later became the 34th Engineer Brigade; executive officer for the 164th Engineer Battalion, and deputy J3 for the Joint Force Headquarters.
She is currently assigned as the deputy chief of staff (G-3), responsible for or military operations and training for the N.D. Army National Guard.
“My biggest accomplishment has been serving soldiers in two separate branches and providing influence through those different areas,” said Wilz. “Now I see my biggest accomplishment and ongoing mission is to impact and serve soldiers in the entire organization.”