CAMP GRAFTON, N.D. — North Dakota National Guard (NDNG) officers and enlisted Soldiers gathered last week at the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI) at Camp Grafton Training Center to witness a change of command. Col. Dave Thiele relinquished command of the training institute to Lt. Col. Lee Nordin. The ceremony celebrated both the experiences and efforts of Thiele as outgoing RTI commander as well as the future ahead with Nordin as the incoming commander.
During the ceremony, Thiele reflected on his time at the RTI stating, “This is a terrific organization and the best instructors in the nation- it was privilege to a part of it. I want to personally thank the staff at Camp Grafton and the citizens of Devils Lake.”
Thiele has more than 17 years of service in the North Dakota National Guard. Thiele served as the Kosovo Forces 12 command judge advocate during a deployment in 2009-2010 with nearly 650 North Dakota National Guard service members in support of U.N. peacekeeping efforts in that region.
Taking over command, Nordin spoke of both the ground work that has been built as well as plans for the future, commenting, “I have worked at the RTI in the past and I am proud to be back. I want to thank our senior leaders for trusting me with such an outstanding organization and special thank you to Colonel Thiele for all your hard work. I want to make this the premier school house in the Nation, and I want people to think of North Dakota when they think of outstanding engineer training.”
Nordin commanded the 231st Maneuver Task Force during Kosovo Forces 12. As commander, he was responsible for the deployment, performance, and redeployment of all elements of a battalion-sized Task Force. Prior to this this assignment, Nordin served in the North Dakota Army National Guard as the commander of the 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion in Fargo, North Dakota.
Land component commander Brig. Gen. Seekins spoke as well, thanking Thiele and welcoming Nordin. “Colonel Thiele, thank you for a terrific job. I’m sorry to have Thiele go, but his skills are needed at his new position with the Army staff.”
Lt. Colonel Nordin is a true engineer and will carry on the strategic goals of the RTI initiated by Thiele. “He faces challenges, but is well positioned to take them on.”
In closing, Seekins commented, “I’ve been across the country several times in my career and I meet many military students. They often tell me how great their learning experience was at the 164th Regional Training Institute in North Dakota.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,800 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 225 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.
High-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr set "RTI Change of Command"