NDSU's Center for Heritage Renewal is developing a database and directory of North Dakota combat veterans since 1975. The work is being done under contract with North Dakota's Office of the Adjutant General.
The mandate for a new directory of combat veterans lies in Senate Bill 2323, passed by the legislature in 2015. The bill ordered the "collecting of information on North Dakotans who served in a theatre or area of armed conflict since the Vietnam conflict."
"The purpose of the work is honorific," said Tom Isern, center director and University Distinguished Professor of history. "There is a sense that North Dakota should do a better job of recognizing those who served us in theaters of combat."
Sensitive to requirements and concerns as to personal privacy, the center is gathering as much information as it can, in response to the legislative mandate, from public and organizational sources. It is opening contacts with individuals and organizations across the state in order to document its combat veterans.
The operations manager for the project is doctoral candidate Clarence Herz, a Marine Corps veteran. The research staff includes graduate research assistants Christian Ahlers and Katie Savageau.
The state previously published informational directories covering combat veterans of World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. The collection of such information ceased, however, in 1975.
Information gathered by the center for the Office of the Adjutant General will be delivered to the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs for safekeeping. In the meantime, project staff keep the data in-house under careful security.
The data collection is expected to be completed by July 1, 2017.
For more information, contact Isern at 701-799-2942 or Herz at 701-799-4081.
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