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North Dakota chaplains gather for training

An enlisted religious affairs specialist practices defending his chaplain during a simulated enemy attack while conducting military training at Camp Grafton Training Center, N.D., Aug. 3, 2021.

U.S. Air Force religious affairs Airman Tech. Sgt. Joshua Bartholomew, of the 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, holds a training weapon as he takes a defensive posture to protect Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Cheney, of the 119th Wing, during chaplain professional development training at Camp Grafton Training Center, N.D., Aug. 3, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David H. Lipp)

Three North Dakota National Guard chaplains in military uniform simulate discussions as if meeting in a foreign land during training at Camp Grafton Training Center, N.D., Aug. 3, 2021.

From left to right Chaplain (Col.) David Johnson, the North Dakota National Guard state chaplain, interacts with Maj. Chaplain (Maj.) Tim Stout, 131st Military Police Battalion, who is role-playing as a foreign religious leader as Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Cheney, of the 119th Wing, during chaplain professional development training at Camp Grafton Training Center, N.D., Aug. 3, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David H. Lipp)

Camp Grafton Training Center N.D. --

Fifteen North Dakota National Guard chaplains, chaplain affairs Airmen and chaplain affairs Army technicians attended a three-day chaplain professional development training course at the Camp Grafton Training Center (CGTC), N.D., Aug. 2-4, 2021.

“There’s been some recent changes in regulation and we wanted to apprise our religious support teams of those changes and arm them with the information needed so that when they come upon those issues they will be ready,” said Col David Johnson, the North Dakota National Guard state chaplain.

The course included classroom instruction and discussions as well as hands-on religious support team tactical movement training, with chaplains and their enlisted Airmen and Soldier support personnel simulating convoy attack response practices at CGTC.

The course attendees participated in a UH-60 Blackhawk familiarization flight, because it would be a likely form of transportation on a deployment as well as in-state emergencies.

“We want our chaplains to get familiar with riding on a Blackhawk so that a crisis situation isn’t the first time they have been on an aircraft. Sometimes that is the quickest way to notify a family for example,” said Johnson.

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, the North Dakota adjutant general, and Col. Mitch Johnson, the 119th Wing commander, were among the state senior leaders that spoke at the event.

Topics covered during the course were religious liberty and religious accommodation, and a cultural awareness brief.

“It is important for us to train with our state spiritual counterparts to see how each other operates and to build relationships with each other for future working environments we might find ourselves in,” said Maj. Dellas Herbel, a 119th Wing chaplain.

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