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Face of Defense: Vietnam Vet to Retire From National Guard

From a North Dakota National Guard News Release

FARGO, N.D., Nov. 29, 2011 – The last North Dakota National Guard member to have served in the Vietnam War is slated to retire tomorrow.

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Army Master Sgt. Alan K. Peterson will retire from the North Dakota National Guard in Fargo on Nov. 30, 2011. He is the last currently serving Vietnam veteran in the state's Guard force. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David Lipp

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

Army Master Sgt. Alan K. Peterson of West Fargo, N.D., will be honored during a retirement ceremony at the Armed Forces Reserve Center here. He is the last of many Vietnam veterans to have served in the state’s Army and Air National Guard during the past 30 years, officials said.

Peterson joined the Navy’s delayed entry program shortly before he graduated from Pine River High School in Minnesota in 1970. He served as a plane captain on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Gulf of Tonkin off of the coast of Vietnam, where he maintained and cleaned aircraft, assisted pilots and tracked aircraft work orders.

In July 1972, he was sent to shore for an eight-month stint at Tan Son Nhut Air Base outside of Da Nang. There, he worked with other service members to replace tail hooks, patch holes and repair aircraft landing gear.

Peterson left the Navy in July 1974, but he donned an Army uniform in February 1979 when he joined the North Dakota Army National Guard. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the Guard’s 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion.

He also served on seven overseas duty training missions -- three times to Honduras, twice to Korea and once each to Jamaica and Panama.

During his time in the North Dakota National Guard, Peterson worked as a construction specialist, engineer equipment supervisor, motor sergeant, construction equipment repair supervisor, mechanized maintenance operations noncommissioned officer, heavy mobile equipment repairer and maintenance control sergeant.

His most recent assignment was with the 3662nd Maintenance Company in Devils Lake, N.D. He also works full-time for the North Dakota National Guard at Field Maintenance Shop No. 2 here.


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North Dakota National Guard


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

11/30/2011 2:28:51 PM
Hand Salute Sargeant. Thank you for your service. From one Vietnam vet to another.
- Major Vincent J. Maligno, Staten Island NY

11/29/2011 11:22:52 PM
As a point of interest, Tan Son Nhut AB was located just outside Saigon. I was stationed there '70-'71. Congratulations MSgt. Peterson on your retirement...and Welcome Home, Alan, Welcome Home!
- MSgt James Williams, Big Level MS

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