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1/3/2007 – News

Volume 123, Number 48             Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Minnewaukan native promoted to US Navy warrant officer rank
Minnewaukan native CWO2 Johnny Thomas was commissioned a chief warrant officer in the US Navy in a ceremony September 20 at the Surface Warfare Development Group Naval Amphibious Base at Norfolk, Va. He is the son of Sandie and Roger Odden of Minnewaukan and is a 1986 graduate of Minnewaukan High School.
Thomas enlisted in the US Navy as a sonar technician in September of 1988. After completing basic training at Recruit Training Command in San Diego, Calif., he attended basic acoustics analysis and digital electronics training in San Diego, after which he was advanced to third class petty officer in accordance with the advanced electronics field enlistment contract.
His initial sea tour was on the USS David R Ray (DD 971) homeported in Long Beach, Calif. He was assigned to the Combat Systems Department, CA Division. He qualified as a sonar suite operator and technician.
He reported to Mare Island, Calif. to attend Mk 116 Mod 0 Maintenance "C" School. In July of 1990 he transferred to the USS Merrill (DD976) homeported in San Diego. While on the Merrill, he completed one deployment to the Arabian Gulf, which included participation in Operations Fiery Vigil and Desert Storm. He qualified as an enlisted surface warfare specialist and AN/SQQ-89 sonar suite supervisor and was promoted to second class petty officer.
In March of 1995 he reported to his first shore duty at San Diego as an AN/SQQ-89 sonar suite operations course instructor. CWO2 Thomas earned his master training specialist and qualified as course curriculum model manager (CCMM). He was promoted to first class petty officer.
In October 1998 CWO2 Thomas completed advanced acoustic analysis training and reported as a member of the commissioning crew of the USS Higgins (DDG 76) homeported in San Diego. He was assigned as the leading petty officer for the CA Division.
In September of 2001 he was promoted to chief petty officer. He reported to the USS Hawes (FFG 53) and was assigned as the leading chief petty officer for the CA Division. He qualified as antisubmarine coordinator, antisurface coordinator, and combat information center watch officer. He also performed duties as the combat systems training team tactical leader during the inter-deployment training cycle. While on the HAWES, he completed one deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, which included operations with Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean and participation in Operation Active Endeavor. CWO2 Thomas was instrumental in 22 Strait of Gibraltar escort duty transits.
In October of 2003 he reported to the Surface Warfare Development Group at Norfolk, Va. as the ship ASW readiness and effectiveness measuring (SHAREM) program leading chief petty officer. He participated in 7 SHAREM events, 10 submarine command course operations and five SHAREM limited objective experiments. He was promoted to senior chief petty officer.
After his commissioning through the CWO program in September of 2006,
CWO2 Thomas is attending the Chief Warrant Officer Indoctrination Course in Pensacola, Fla. In March of 2007 he will report to the USS Ramage (DDG 61) as the combat information center officer (CICO).
His military decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (one award), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards) and various unit and expeditionary awards.
He is married to Juliet Thomas of Bronx, New York. They have three children, Roger Lindsay, Brendan Thomas and Gabrielle Thomas.

CWO2 Johnny Thomas

Commissioners reorganize
The Benson County Commissioners met January 2 and elected officers for 2007. Left to right are Chairman Curtis Hvinden of Maddock, Mike Steffan of St. Michael, Lowell Haagenson of Leeds, Vice Chairman Jason Lee of Maddock, County Auditor Bonnie Erickson and Dwain Brown of Sheyenne. Haagenson replaced Ed Ripplinger and Steffan replaced Barry Cox.

FU Ins. gives $5,000
Doug Arnston, left, Farmers Union Insurance agent at Maddock is shown presenting Maddock City Council member Wayne Knatterud a check for $5,000 for the Benson County 4-H/Multi-Purpose Building in Maddock. The check was a donation from Farmers Union Insurance of North Dakota. Oberon native Odean Olson, general manager of Farmers Union Insurance of North Dakota, said, "We are thankful to the policyholders in Benson County and throughout the state who have enough confidence in Farmers Union Insurance to place their coverages with us. Supporting community projects such as this is one way of giving back to these communities."

Santa visits here
Santa Claus made a visit to the Farmers Press after Christmas. He was delayed due to a heavy work schedule. He gave a Christmas hug to Sara Plum, left, and Karen Kenner before going on his way.

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