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John Lamb, Published September 07 2013

ND Air National Guard promotes new brigadier general

FARGO – The North Dakota Air National Guard base in Fargo has been mostly quiet since its 66-year flying mission ended last month, but spirits soared toward the future Saturday.

The base hosted two connected ceremonies.

Col. Ronald Solberg was promoted to brigadier general, North Dakota’s only currently serving Air National Guard general and one of just four generals in the ND National Guard.

The second part of the afternoon’s events featured flag ceremonies signifying the 119th Maintenance Group re-designated as the 119th Intelligence Group.

Lt. Col. Darrin Anderson, of West Fargo, will command that group.

Three squadrons will fall within the new group: the 177th Intelligence Squadron, the 176th Intelligence Squadron and the 119th Intelligence Support Squadron.

Maj. Michaela Brancato, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., will command the 177th; Lt. Col. Teresa Luthi McDonough, of Moorhead, will lead the 176th; and Lt. Col. Greg McDonald, of Fargo, will lead the 119th.

Training for the intelligence mission is expected to take one to three years for the new group, established to exploit intelligence to perform target system analysis and target development.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota’s adjutant general, praised Solberg’s service, calling him, “one of our finest.”

“I’m very proud of the work Ron has done over the years,” Sprynczynatyk said, singling out his service in Iraq and helping with recent regional flood fights.

Gen. Solberg started his remarks by thanking his wife, Dawn, and his family for being supportive on the home front.

Solberg joined the service 31 years ago.

His father, retired Col. Wayne Solberg, was a pilot with the Happy Hooligans and Gen. Solberg, his brother and four sisters all served as Hooligans, as do two of his sons and many other relatives.

Gen. Solberg noted that the 119th is approaching “probably the biggest challenge it has ever faced,” but he intended to make the transition “as successful, smooth and painless as can be.”

He finished by addressing the 119th, saying, “I look forward to writing the next chapter of the Hooligans with you.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533