Volume 124, Number
Young man with county roots has dangerous duty in Iraq
1st Lt. Gary A. Ripplinger is presently serving with the 817th ND Army National Guard (NDANG) in Iraq. Like over 70% of the 817th from Jamestown, Lt. Ripplinger is on his second tour of duty in the Middle East. He had previously served with the NDANG’s 142nd during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He is the son of Lt. Col. Donald Ripplinger, USAR (retired) and his wife, Connie, of Devils Lake and the grandson of Marie Ripplinger, formerly of Brinsmade and the late John Ripplinger.
According to Captain Hillig, commander of the Jamestown unit, the mission statement of the 817th is as follows: "Executes mobility tasks in support of maneuver brigade combat teams, joint international forces, or as part of an engineer team/embarked military force by clearing improvised explosive devices along main and alternate supply routes, thereby ensuring logistic support to coalition forces and increasing local stability in the assigned area of operations."
Major General David Sprynczynatyk, the Adjutant General of the NDNG, restated it in layman’s terms while addressing the family and friends of deploying soldiers at the send-off in Jamestown earlier this year.
"The efforts and expertise of the 817th Engineer Company’s soldiers will ensure safe travel for friendly forces as well as Iraqi citizens by keeping the main supply routes clear of obstacles."
The "obstacles" are improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are responsible for most of the casualties incurred by American forces in Iraq.
The soldiers are expected to conduct trailblazer missions ensuring that the supply routes are secure for vehicular and pedestrian movement. So, basically, the 817th is locating and destroying IED’s before they have a chance to destroy personnel and property.
Before leaving for Iraq, eight of the 817th soldiers were assigned to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama for specialized training in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Agent (EODA) course. The highly strenuous course, with a 30% washout rate, proved to be a challenge, but a do-able one.
All eight soldiers from the 817th graduated from the course with SPC Dustin Stumblingbear finishing at the top as the distinguished graduate. This select group learned to identify IED’s. While there, they were trained and certified to use the TALON robot that is used to place explosives on the IED’s and to properly use C-4 for detonation purposes.
First Lieutenant Gary Ripplinger is serving in Iraq with the dangerous mission of clearing the roads of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). He is a native of Devils Lake with Benson County roots.
Ripplinger’s platoon, known as the Rifle 3, is pictured with some of the gear used to clear IEDs from the roads. The company the platoon belongs to is based out of Jamestown. Note the American flag and the flag of the state of North Dakota being held by the soldiers.
Leeds students of the quarter
Students of the quarter at Leeds have been named. Left to right,
front row, are Logan Gunderson, Kendra Leibfried and Kevin Slaubaugh.
Back row: Morgan Leapaldt, Matt Pepple and Elliott Gunderson.
"G’day!" That’s Australian for hello. The second and third grade students at Leeds have been studying about The Land Down Under, Australia. Some of their activities included studying the animals, singing "Waltzing Mathilda" and making a dideridoo, an ancient Aboriginal instrument. Teacher for this project was Debbie Dunlap.
Left to right, back row, are Grace Nybo, Kaylee Lybeck, Gary Redetzke, Andrew Follman and Braydon Follman. Middle row: Erin Jorgenson, Arnikka Thompson, Rochelle Hanson, Dani Schwanke and Dalton Onerheim. Front row: Spencer Follman, Josh Bowman, Ricky Jorgenson, Ryan Wangler and Garrett Johnson.
District 7 champs
The Maddock Bobcats girls volleyball team came away from the District 7 tournament in New Rockford with top honors after defeating Lakota on Monday, October 29. Pictured are, front row, left to right, seniors Alisha Knutson, Jessie Schwanke, Kimberly Randle, Shannon Schloss and Michelle Olson. Middle row: Kristi Trautman, Erin Leier, Sharisa Yri and Kara Kallenbach. Back row: assistant coach Bridget Lunde, Alex Buckmier, Kaidi Kenner, Erin Yri, Jillian Maddock and head coach JoLynn Fautsch. Photo courtesy of Erik Gjovik of the New Rockford Transcript.
Jessie Schwanke of the Maddock Bobcats received Senior of the Year honors for District 7. Photo courtesy of Erik Gjovik of the New Rockford Transcript.
Anderson voted top senior in CC
Not only is Lindsay Anderson of Leeds a four-time Class B cross-country champion, she is also the Class B girls’ senior athlete of the year for that sport. The senior has won the Class B race as an eighth grader, a sophomore, a junior and this year. She plans to run one more race this fall, the Foot Locker Championships in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving weekend.
Student earns honor
Leeds student Katrina Lybeck was named a "Commended Student" by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Her score was based on the PSAT score taken in the spring of 2007. She is pictured with Leeds Superintendent Joel Braaten.