FARGO, N.D. — Sgt. 1st Class Brandon J. Hemsing, 41, a native of Wahpeton, N.D., retired from the North Dakota Army National Guard, with 20 years of service, on March 20, 2012. A retirement ceremony took place in his honor in February.
Hemsing is a third-grade teacher at South Point Elementary in East Grand Forks, where he lives with his wife, Rachel, and two children, Zane and Kiersten.
He enlisted in the Army Reserves and drilled in Fergus Falls, Minn., as an infantryman before transferring to the North Dakota Army National Guard. In 2003-04, he deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom with Headquarters Support Company of the 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), Fargo. In 2009-10, he deployed to Kosovo on a NATO peacekeeping mission with Company A of the 231st Brigade Support Battalion, Fargo.
When asked to name the most memorable award he received during his 20 years of service, he said, “the Combat Action Badge, because of what it stands for and who I was with at the time I had received it.”
The badge is awarded to a Soldier who is engaged by the enemy and who performs satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.
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, nearly 300 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.