By Spc. Daryl Sanford, Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Four Minnesota National Guard Soldiers were inducted into the Minnesota National Guard Court of Honor Oct. 7, during a recognition ceremony at the Hangar conference facility at Camp Ripley, Little Falls.
Honored during the ceremony were: Brig. Gen. Timothy M. Kennedy, Col. Leslie F. Chisholm, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Larry J. Sharon and 1st Sgt. Merlin E. Ellefson.
The soldiers were inducted into the Court of Honor and their names engraved, joining 310 others since 1933 in a monument near the Minnesota Military Museum. They were recognized for their unwavering dedication, loyalty and distinguished service to the Minnesota National Guard.
“It is truly an honor to be able to host this outstanding event in which we recognize the service to our state and country of these four individuals,” said Camp Ripley Post Commander Col. Scott St. Sauver.
The inductees join a group of former soldiers and honorees whose service dates back 147 years.
“I was completely shocked,” said Sharon, when he first heard of his nomination to the Court of Honor. “At first I didn’t know what I did to be nominated and considered for this award. Then after talking with my family, it started to sink in.”
Fellow inductee Chisholm felt the same.
“I didn’t think my service was at the same level as those who were inducted before me,” he said. “When I was up on the stage, it all hit me. All the people I’ve seen, all the people I served with, and all my experiences came back to me.”
In addition to the Court of Honor ceremony, Camp Ripley dedicated Air Traffic Control Tower 5 to Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Nichols, Chief Warrant Officer’s 2 Mark Nelson and Dale Schmidt, and Staff Sgts. Larry Roalstad and James Teel, who died in a helicopter crash at Camp Ripley March 13, 1993.
The Memorialization Board selects soldiers for their service to the Minnesota National Guard, as well as continued service to their communities. The Board reviews the nominations received and forwards recommendations to the Minnesota Adjutant General for approval.