Nevada National Guard News

Parents’ residence transforms into promotion ceremony site for Nevada Army Guard Colonel

 Parents’ residence transforms into promotion ceremony site for Nevada Army Guard Colonel

CARSON CITY –  A self-admitted man of few words, Jonathan Hall succinctly but perfectly summed up his 85th birthday Tuesday: “It’s the best birthday yet.”

On the same day he turned 85, his son Karsten Hall was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Nevada Army Guard – right on the senior Hall’s front porch in the Capital City. Ruth Hall, Karsten’s mother, also had a front row seat on the porch of the ceremony presided over by Brig. Gen. Troy Armstrong. Jonathan Hall cannot travel due to poor health. Dozens of the younger Hall’s relatives and friends filled the yard during the ceremony, but the box seats on the front porch were reserved for Jonathan and Ruth. Continue Reading Here... 

Construction begins on Chinook helicopter display addition to Mustang 22 Memorial

mustang LargeCARSON CITY – A Nevada Army Guard CH-47D Chinook helicopter grounded permanently by the U.S. Army due to structural damage caused by bullet holes in its hull following 27 months of missions in Afghanistan is set to take to the sky once again above the Army Aviation Support Facility in Reno – this time as the static display addition to the Mustang 22 Memorial located at 20000 Army Aviation Drive. Continue Reading Here... 


Nevada Army Guard mid-career counselors seek to retain Army’s budding stars

 Retention TeamCARSON CITY – Similar to a Major League Baseball franchise owner, the Nevada Army Guard wants to sign its budding, talented All-Stars to a long-term contract as soon as possible to ensure a strong team in the future. The star Soldiers the Nevada Guard covets are those who have completed their military occupational training, have several years of experience and are on the tail end of their initial enlistment. Continue Reading Here... 

Reno resident, aviator becomes 10th Nev. Guard U.S. Property and Fiscal Officer since World War II, now oversees $1 billion in assets

Small Wagner USPFO CARSON CITY -- Longtime Army aviator Lt. Col. Andrew Wagner’s military career path completed its transition from rotary-wing aviation to financial and logistics management Jan. 19 when he succeeded Col. Mary Devine as the U.S. Property and Fiscal Officer for Nevada. Wagner, 46, of Reno, is just the 10th USPFO officer for the Nevada Guard since the conclusion of World War II. Continue Reading Here...

It’s no accident: Nevada Guard sergeant secures 2023 Distinguished Ground Safety Award

CARSON CITY – No seatbelt? You will be chastised.

On the top step of the ladder? You will get a scolding.

No protective gear while riding your motorcycle? Now you are in real trouble and will receive a reprimand!  

 Continue Reading Here...     

  Gibbs Small


TRADING PLACES: Signal battalion gains Alpha Company as 440th Tactical Installation and Networking – Enhanced Company packs up for Arizona

 SIgnal Battaloiin Image

STEAD, Nev. – Sunday marked a bittersweet day for the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion as the battalion gained Alpha Company from the Arizona Army Guard but concurrently saw its 440th Tactical Installation and Networking-Enhanced Company deactivated within Nevada for its near-future transfer and re-activation in the Grand Canyon State. Continue Reading Here....

Stars align perfectly for Nevada Guard aviator promoted to ultimate warrant officer rank

 Neilsen photo CW5

RENO, Nevada – After his promotion ceremony to Chief Warrant Officer 5 in Reno on Friday, Carson City resident Steve Nielsen compared his military career to a rare celestial event.

“Every star in the galaxy had to align just right for me to reach this point in my career,” said Nielsen, the longtime Nevada Army Guard aviator whose extraordinary life has included several brushes with death, behavioral health challenges and – as he attests – some unadulterated pure luck. Continue reading here... 

State Partnership Program NCO’s international efforts recognized by College of Southern Nevada

 Kasner Story Medium Size

CARSON CITY – When she received an out-of-the-blue invitation to the College of Southern Nevada’s Spotlight of Excellence award ceremony last month, Nevada Air Guard Tech. Sgt. Hannah Kasner was baffled. She was not enrolled in Nevada’s largest college or a member of the faculty or even a resident of southern Nevada. Continue Reading Here...

Despite idyllic office location, Bilateral Affairs Officer asserts job is no vacation

 BAO Officer Small

CARSON CITY – Nearly two years into his role as the Nevada Guard’s Bilateral Affairs Officer based in the picturesque South Pacific-island nation of Fiji, Maj. David Paxton emphatically dismisses the notion his job is an extended, distant vacation thousands of miles away from the pressures and stresses of the mainland. Continue Reading Here...

TRAINING AMPLITUDE IN PARADISE: International partners wrap up Exercise Cartwheel 2023 in Fiji

 Cartwheel 2023

NAUSORI HIGHLANDS, Fiji – Exercise Cartwheel 2023, the highly-anticipated training mission featuring multiple military partners from around the globe, concluded September 29 at Nausori Highlands Training Area in Fiji. Troops from myriad nations, including the United States’ Nevada National Guard, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom joined host-nation Republic of Fiji in the two-week long training mission. Continue Reading Here...

Nevada National Guard families, individuals sought to ease statewide foster care shortage

 Foster Care Information Photo The shared characteristics of supportive parents and successful Nevada Guard Soldiers and Airmen – reliability, stability, understanding, flexibility, and patience – are a major reason foster care agencies across the state are encouraging National Guard families and individuals to consider opening their homes to foster care children this summer and help ease the state’s shortage of foster care housing. Continue Reading Here...    

Nevada Guard teams with Government of Samoa in National Guard’s State Partnership Program

 Nevada Guard teams with Government of Samoa Small

CARSON CITY - Nevada National Guard, U.S. Embassy in Samoa and Government of Samoa officials are ecstatic to announce the official collaboration between the Nevada National Guard and the Government of Samoa under the auspice of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program was signed and finalized on July 6. The collaboration promises to fortify the bonds between Samoa and the United States and represents a significant milestone in diplomacy and cooperation between the two nations. Coincidently this month, the National Guard’s State Partnership Program is marking 30 years of mutually beneficial missions, exchanges and exercises in every corner of the globe since the program’s inception in 1993. Continue reading here... 

From helicopter mechanic to general’s stars: D. Rodger ‘Dan’ Waters becomes Brigadier General

 Brig Gen Waters Small Photo

RENO — D. Rodger “Dan” Waters, whose Army career began as an enlisted helicopter mechanic in 1985 and included a steady climb through the officer ranks of the for three decades, attained the rank of brigadier general Friday in a ceremony conducted at the Nevada Army Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility.

Waters, 55, of Sparks, enlisted in the Army at age 17 after graduating from high school in Tempe, Ariz., and he’s worn an Army uniform ever since.

Continue Reading Here... 

Recruit Sustainment Soldier advances to world championships in powerlifting

Weight Lifting Championships small

 CARSON CITY – After placing second in the Powerlifting America Classic Junior and Master Nationals meet in early June, Nevada Army Guard Sgt. Peyton Johnson is preparing for the Powerlifting America World Championships in Romania in September. Johnson just missed out on a national championship in the 205-pound division at the meet in Arizona with his total of 1791 pounds lifted; Shane Nutt of Indiana lifted 1803 pounds to edge out Johnson.  

Johnson, 23, is a cadre Soldier in the Recruit Sustainment Program and he also works full-time for the Nevada Guard as a network communications systems specialist. He has been in the Nevada Army Guard since 2018. Earlier in his career, Johnson was in the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion and he participated in the battalion’s international deployment to Kuwait in 2020. Continue Reading Here...


Largest Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy class set to walk stage Friday

 BBYCA Graduation 2023

CARSON CITY – Just days before his graduation from the Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy, cadet Thaiden Smiley had mixed emotions.

“It’s going to be bittersweet,” said Smiley, 16, of Elko High School, while home for a brief visit with his family on Memorial Day weekend. “I will miss the lifelong friends I’ve made and plan to stay in touch with. It’s been an amazing experience. The academy changed my mindset.”  Continue reading here.......    

Douglas County Gold Star family member garners Nevada Army Guard Soldier of the Year title

 Douglas County Gold Star family member garners Nevada Army Guard Soldier of the Year title

RENO – Motivated by memories of family members who never made it home, Douglas High graduate and Gold Star Family member Spc. Jake Evans came home from the Nevada Army Guard’s Best Warrior Contest as the state’s 2023 Soldier of the Year. 

Evans, 25, a critical care flight paramedic with the 2/238th Aviation unit based in Reno, earned the title of Soldier of the Year in early April after he outlasted an international field to win in the Nevada Guard’s Best Warrior contest held at the Hawthorne Army Depot. The Best Warrior contest is a military multi-event competition that tests a Soldier’s fitness, marksmanship and military knowledge. This year’s Best Warrior contest included servicemembers from Fiji and Tonga; those two countries are teamed with Nevada in the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Continue Reading Here


Combat engineer emerges as Nevada Army Guard’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

 NCO of the year Canepa Teal

RENO – A combat engineer from the Fallon-based 609th Engineer Company, Staff Sgt. Alec Canepa-Teal, 25, of Reno, captured the Nevada Army Guard title of the 2023 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year last week after he won the annual Best Warrior competition in Hawthorne, Nev.

A native of the Biggest Little City, Canepa-Teal has been in the Army for six years, including five on active duty.... Continue reading here. 

Samoa, Nevada Guard Pair in Growing State Partnership Program

Samoa graphic smallBy Capt. Emerson Marcus

Nevada Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs


CARSON CITY, Nev. - The Nevada National Guard is adding the Independent State of Samoa as its third partner nation in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of operations through the State Partnership Program. 

Samoa joins the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Fiji as Pacific Island partners with the Nevada National Guard. These partnerships were formalized in 2014 and 2019, respectively. 

"Nevada's meaningful relationships and regional expertise in the Oceania region over the last decade were cited as the driving force behind the creation of this newest partnership," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peyerl, director of Joint Staff, Nevada National Guard. "Many people are surprised at how much Nevada and Pacific Island nations have in common. At first glance, it's easy to focus on the differences. If you look closely, you will see similarities of small, close-knit, urban communities, separated by large distances of ocean in the Pacific, and desert in Nevada."

... Continue reading here 


Nevada Army Guard acquires 2 late-model Lakota UH-72 helicopters

 230201 - Lakota xtra small By Spc. Adrianne Lopez

17th Sustainment Brigade


NORTH LAS VEGAS – The Nevada Army Guard’s wish list came to fruition during the holiday season with its acquisition of two state-of-the-art UH-72B Lakota helicopters in December. The Nevada Army Guard was one of nine National Guard states to receive two late-model Lakotas to enhance rotary-wing aircraft capabilities across the country, especially in mountainous states.

The Department of Defense purchased 18 UH-72B Lakota helicopters on Aug. 4, 2022, and the Nevada Army Guard received two of the new helicopters based on its domestic mission set and environmental factors. The new UH-72B model is more powerful than the older UH-72A model and will allow for hoist rescue operations at high elevations in Nevada. One UH-72B costs about $8 million, according to recent public government procurement contracts... Continue reading here

Progress on Hawthorne small arms range, pistol course remains on target

Hawthorne Range update Dec 2022Staff report


           HAWTHORNE -- Progress on the small arms range at the Hawthorne Army Depot that will allow Nevada’s military personnel to stay within the state for their weapons qualification testing remains on target. This month, the Nevada Guard’s Lands and Ranges team completed its preparation for an interim Automated Record Fire Range and Combat Pistol Qualification Course. Both will feature wireless targets that are set to be emplaced in late winter.

The interim range and course promise to be operational by mid-March 2023 for Individual Soldier Weapons Qualification. The permanent small arms range that meets the Army standard for individual weapons qualification tests should be done by 2025 and will likely cost about $17 million.... Continue reading here 


Outstanding Airmen recognized during annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet

Jen_HerrellBy Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox
152nd Airlift Wing

RENO, Nev. – The Nevada Air National Guard recognized its top performers February 11 during its annual Awards and Outstanding Airmen of the Year ceremony and banquet. The event was hosted by the local chapter of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States at the Atlantis Resort in Reno.

Awards presented at the ceremony included the Diversity Award, the Mervin T. Johnson Memorial Safety Award, Recruiter of the Year, Unit Career Advisor of the Year, Chief’s Council Award, Commander’s Excellence Awards as well as the Airman, Noncommissioned Officer, Senior Noncommissioned Officer and Company Grade Officer of the Year Awards. 

Nevada Guard’s Best Warriors

Bryan_BrownBy Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
Joint Force Headquarters

HAWTHORNE, Nev. – Staff Sgt. Keahi Granstrom, a motor transport operator in the 1864th Transportation Company, and Sgt. Bryan Brown, a combat engineer in the 609th Engineer Company, emerged as the top Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier in the state respectively during the three-day Best Warrior contest that concluded March 10 at the Hawthorne Army Depot.

Nevada Guard backs first responders for 22nd year at ‘America’s Party’

Photo and Story by Spc. Adrianne Lopez

17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section  

Americas_PartyThe Nevada National Guard completed its 22nd year assisting first responders in Las Vegas for “America’s Party” — an annual New Year’s Eve celebration that regularly brings more than 300,000 partygoers to the Entertainment Capital of the World.

About 220 Guardsmen and women assisted for the activation this year. More than 100 of those were on the Las Vegas Strip to assist with crowd control and ensure a safe celebration. Additionally, about 40 members of the Nevada Air Guard backed staffs at University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning for potential triage support in the case of any emergency. This support has been requested the past four years following the Route 91 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 60 country music concertgoers in 2017.

Inaugural Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy class graduates

BBYCA XMASBy Staff Sgt. Walter Lowell  

106th Public Affairs Detachment    


ELKO – The inaugural class of students in the Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy made Nevada history after 21 cadets graduated from the residential phase of the program Friday during a ceremony at the Elko Convention Center. All 21 students completed the rigorous 22-week residential portion of the program and are transitioning to the one-year mentorship phase of the program as they return to their respective local, traditional high schools.

Opened just last February, the Battle Born Youth ChallenNGe Academy is the state- and Nevada Guard-sponsored educational academy participating in the overarching National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. It is a preventive rather than remedial at-risk youth program that includes voluntary participants 16-18 years of age who have dropped out of school or are not satisfactorily progressing academically, are unemployed or under employed, drug-free, and crime-free.






Barring recurrence, Nevada Guard in final stages of COVID-19 health response mission

Gomez_Vacc_Sm_2By Spc. Adrianne Lopez

17th Sustainment Brigade

LAS VEGAS – Eighteen months into the Nevada Guard’s COVID-19 health response mission, about 135 Soldiers and Airmen remain on duty battling the persistent virus daily across the Silver State.

The ongoing coronavirus mission has proven to be the largest and lengthiest domestic response in state history. The COVID-19 health mission began in April 2020 and at the height of the response, more than 1,100 of the state’s 4,400 Guardsmen were on orders supporting Nevada’s pandemic response.

After emphasizing testing and personal protective gear distribution in the early stages of the pandemic, the main priority of the Guardsmen since the release of the COVID-19 vaccine has been immunization assistance to civilian authorities. Two task forces – Task Force 422 in the north and Task Force 17 in the south – support the coronavirus health response mission.

Warrant officer corps seeks experienced, seasoned Soldiers


Christopher Moll 300px

Christopher Moll, of Carson City, receives his new rank of Warrant Officer Candidate on October 6 as he began his transition from enlisted Soldier to warrant officer. Moll is set to enter the finance career field and become a property book officer. The Nevada Army Guard aims to add at least eight warrant officers to its ranks annually in upcoming years to offset a high number of anticipated retirements.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Walter Lowell

Leads 2 Enlistment Challenge continues through end of September

CARSON CITY – The Leads to Enlistment Challenge is underway and will continue through the end of September. The challenge is simple and could result with a Soldier earning a trip to Hawaii (albeit to participate in Air Assault School).

Afghanistan Retrospective

126th Pic 2003
In this file photo from 2003, the Soldiers from the first Nevada Army Guard unit deployed to Afghanistan – Detachment 1, 126th Medical Company based in Stead, Nevada – take time out for a photo at Kandahar International Airport. The Soldiers were in Kandahar Province from January-September 2003. The unit would be deployed to Afghanistan four times during the next two decades. More than 1250 Nevada Guard Soldiers and 700 Nevada Guard Airmen served in Afghanistan since 2003.

File Photo courtesy 126th Med Co.


By Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber152nd Airlift Wingwizard

 RENO – Honorary Capt. Tennyson “Wizard” Hunter, the Nevada Air Guard’s first Pilot for a Day, died on February 22 after a long battle with Kabuki Syndrome. He was 15.

  Hunter, or as Nevada Air Guardsmen called him, “Wizard,” – the call sign he received in 2019 during his Pilot for a Day service – touched the heart of every High Roller on the air base during his Pilot for a Day stint. The Pilot for a Day Air Force program that provides chronically-ill children a chance to experience Air Force life. With his jovial spirit and can-do attitude, Hunter made a memorable impact on the base during his one-day military career Dec. 16, 2019.

Biathlon Vexation Melts Away As Aviation Soldier Claims Silver, Bronze

jordan mcelroy range photo
By Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
Joint Force Headquarters

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -- Nearly 50 years of Nevada Guard frustration and disappointment in the sport of biathlon melted away like snow in Las Vegas last week as Sgt. Jordan McElroy claimed two medals at the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Championships.

McElroy’s silver in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit race and his bronze in the 10- kilometer sprint were the Nevada Guard’s first men’s open podium results since biathlon became a National Guard-sponsored sport in 1973. Biathlon is the Winter Olympic sport that combines cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship. Continue reading NVNG's podium finishes at Biathlon 2021.

Nevada ANG director of operations sets sights for Harvard 02/22/2021

LTC GalliStory by Tech. Sgt. Garrett Wake

152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

   Lt. Col. Justin Galli raised his right hand to offer a final salute as the commander of the 232nd Operations Squadron. Although family and friends were not able to attend the in-person ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many viewed virtually. The ceremony capped Galli’s final day as commander of the 232nd. Physical attendance was limited to only a few essential personnel; four of Galli’s enlisted Airmen attended in ceremonial roles to bid their commander farewell.

   While this day marked an end to a chapter of his career, it also marked the beginning of the next as Galli prepares to travel across the country to the Harvard Kennedy School. This year he will represent the National Guard as the sole guardsman to participate in the school’s National Security Fellows Program.

Nevada Guard Soldier Breaks Free From The Grip of Chicago’s Mean Streets

BB Getsie StoryStory by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie

17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section

Spc. Jimmy Payton escaped the termoil of violence and drugs found in Chicago’s gang infested Southside, and now prepares to compete as a bodybuilder at the national level while continuing to serve with the Nevada Army National Guard.

“Chicago is a different world,” Payton said. “The city is in a bad position now with all the gang violence and drugs. A lot of people I knew there were getting shot.”

Payton was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His hometown was famous for several blues musicians such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. The Delta Blues Museum is located in Clarksdale along the Sunflower River.

When he was a toddler his family relocated to Chicago, IL, where he spent most of his childhood and formative years. He escaped the mean streets of Chicago’s Southside at 25-years old and relocated to St. Louis, MI. He was a forklift trainer and operator for a short time until he finally decided to leave the Midwest altogether and landed in sunny Las Vegas in July 2017.

Shortly after moving to the Silver State Payton raised his right hand, took the Oath of Enlistment, and strapped on his boots to serve with Nevada National Guard in April of 2018. He joined as a motor transport operator (88M) with the 593rd Motor Transport Company and has been with the unit ever since... Continue reading here

Nevada Guard Soldiers, Airmen On Duty To Ensure Quiet, Calm Inauguration Day 01/22/2021

Nevada Guard Soldiers, Airmen on duty to ensure quiet, calm Inauguration Day
By Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
Joint Force Headquarters 


   CARSON CITY – More than 310 Nevada National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were among the 32,000 National Guardsmen on duty Wednesday across the nation to help quell any potential civil disturbance on Joseph Biden Jr.’s ultimately calm and quiet Presidential Inauguration Day. In addition to placing 60 Soldiers on duty in the state capital on Jan. 20, the Nevada Guard sent 253 Soldiers and Airmen to Washington, D.C., to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration.


   They were among the 25,900 National Guardsmen on duty in the nation’s capital for the Presidential Inauguration. The majority of the Soldiers were from 1-221st Cavalry based in Las Vegas and the 3665th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company based in Henderson.... Continue Reading.