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Deployed Spouse Shares in Husband’s Promotion

American Forces Press Service

FARGO, N.D., March 22, 2010 – A visit by North Dakota’s adjutant general to the emergency operations center yesterday set up for flood response at the North Dakota Air National Guard base here came with a surprise for one Guardsman.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Master Sgt. Traver Silbernagel, left, and North Dakota Adjutant General Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk listen to Air Force Capt. Jennifer Silbernagel, on screen, a deployed North Dakota Air National Guard officer. The captain, based in the United Arab Emirates, witnessed her husband's surprise promotion via Skype. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk promoted Traver W. Silbernagel to master sergeant as the North Dakota Army National Guard noncommissioned officer ended a 12-hour night shift, March 21, 2010.

To add to the surprise, Silbernagel’s wife, Jennifer, was able to witness the promotion via Skype from the United Arab Emirates.

"It's always a great day in the North Dakota National Guard when we have the opportunity to promote someone, and it's even better when we have the chance to give that recognition during an important mission, such as now during flood duty," Sprynczynatyk said. "I always like when we can include families in these events, because they're such an important part of our North Dakota National Guard family, and today is especially wonderful because we have Jennifer here via Skype."

Jennifer Silbernagel, a captain with the North Dakota Air National Guard, has been deployed for two months and expects to return in August. Her husband started flood duty last week, and he said he has been thankful for family members pitching in to help with the couple's children.

The entire event came as a surprise for the newly promoted master sergeant.

"When I came on last night, they left me a note that said something pretty serious came up, we've got to talk in the morning, and I didn't know what it was," he said.

The crew had led him to believe something must have gone wrong. But after breakfast, he walked back into a room full of people, including his wife on the Skype screen.

"We've had a chance to talk, but we really haven't had a chance to see her much, so that's kind of nice," he said.

The opportunity also gave the deployed captain a chance to provide a quick update on her mission. "Things are going good,” she said. We're staying busy every day, and the days are going very fast."

In turn, Sprynczynatyk gave his wife an update on flood operations back home, which began March 15.

(From a North Dakota National Guard news release.)

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Photo Essay: North Dakota National Guard Flood Support

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