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Base Commander swears in doctor at Bismarck hospital

Col. Robert Becklund, 119th Wing Commander, swears in Dr. (Maj.) Craig Smith into the N.D. Air National Guard.  Smith will serve as a flight surgeon for the 119th Wing.

Col. Robert Becklund, 119th Wing Commander, swears in Dr. (Maj.) Craig Smith into the N.D. Air National Guard on Aug. 20, 2008 at St. Alexius Medical Center. Smith will serve as a flight surgeon for the 119th Wing.

Bismarck, N.D. -- Dr. Craig Smith will be sworn into the N.D. Air Guard by Col. Robert Becklund, 119th Wing Commander, at 1:00 p.m. in the Boniface Auditorium of St. Alexius Medical Center on Wednesday, Aug. 20th.

Members from the 119th Wing will travel from Fargo to Bismarck to perform the short ceremony at the hospital, making Smith the newest member of the Happy Hooligan family.

Smith, currently a major in the Army Reserves will transfer into the N.D. Air Guard as a flight surgeon for the 119th Wing based in Fargo. Smith is an anesthesiologist at St. Alexius Medical Center.

"Dr. Smith will be filling a great need within our medical squadron. Our new missions of the C-21 and Predator have amplified the demand for flight surgeons in the unit because of the increased number of personnel who now need flight exams," said Master Sgt. Glenda Edwardson, 119th Wing Recruiter.

The Air Guard is actively seeking qualified medical personnel to add to its ranks. The unit is currently looking for five more health professionals, to include: three flight surgeons, one family physician, and one internist.

"Due to their demanding schedules, it can be a challenge to find medical personnel to join the Air Guard, but we've been very successful this year. There are many patriotic people out there and that includes those working in the medical community," said Edwardson.

The 119th Wing hired a physician assistant earlier this year to work at the new Air Guard Detachment located in Minot and recruiters are currently working with several other doctors about joining the Air Guard base in Fargo.

"The benefits for medical personnel to join the Air Guard are outstanding. If serving their country is something that interests them, then joining the Air Guard is definitely something they should consider looking into," said Edwardson.

For more information about this press release, please contact Capt. Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing Public Affairs Officer, at 701-451-2194 (office) or 701-238-6944 (cell). 


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