BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota National Guard last night hosted retired Gen. David H. Petraeus during a forum at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck after his visit to the Bakken oil patch in western North Dakota. Petraeus joined Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, to discuss leadership and to provide insight into his military career in front of an audience of Guardsmen, family members and special guests, including Kelly L. Schmidt, state treasurer and Dr. Larry Skogen, interim chancellor for the North Dakota University System.
“Whenever you think of great Americans associated with wars and conflicts, such as Gen. (Norman) Schwarzkopf with Desert Storm, Gen. (William) Westmoreland and Vietnam, you also associate the accomplishments of the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan with Gen. Petraeus,” Sprynczynatyk said as he introduced the former Army commander and CIA director.
Petraeus’ distinguished military career includes service in Haiti, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the decade that followed 9/11, he was deployed overseas for nearly 7 years, and led six straight commands, five of which were in combat. During last night’s forum, he encouraged attendees to always seek “excellence at whatever level, job or position you currently hold as you advance through the ranks.”
After a 25-minute discussion moderated by Sprynczynatyk, Petraeus called on members of the audience for questions. One attendee asked the retired general about his thoughts on military members serving multiple deployments. Petraeus said, “It’s a privilege to serve our nation in uniform.” Being “boots on the ground” himself for many years during the Global War on Terrorism, he told the group that he understands the hardships that they and their family members face. Petraeus’ son currently serves in the military.
After the presentation, Petraeus met with audience members, several of whom served under his commands in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terrorism.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 4,000 Soldiers and more than 2,400 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 80 North Dakota Guardsmen are mobilized for overseas service and more than 200 are on duty in Washington, D.C., and in Texas. With a total force of about 4,400 Guardsmen, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready for stateside 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 available at Flickr album: "Gen. Petraeus Visits ND Guard"