ND Army National Guard member promoted to major general

Submitted Photo Brig. Gen. Bob Becklund, right, deputy adjutant general for the North Dakota National Guard, presents Maj. Gen. Giselle “Gigi” Wilz with a certificate of congratulations from Gov. Doug Burgum, during her promotion ceremony in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday. Photo by 2nd Lt. Jeremiah Colbert, 119th Wing.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Giselle “Gigi” Wilz, a member of the North Dakota National Guard, was promoted to the rank of major general on Wednesday at Arlington Hall Station, Arlington, Va.

Wilz’s military career include serving as officer in charge and executive officer of Headquarters, 164th Engineer Battalion, in Minot.

She is the first female general officer from the N.D. Army National Guard. Maj. Gen. Terry Scherling, an Air National Guard officer, who retired in 2009, was the first female general officer in the state’s National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Glenn Bramhall, commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, presided over the ceremony on Wednesday. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, retired Lt. Col. Davina French and retired Maj. Gary Wilz also assisted during the ceremony, while Maj. Gen. William Hall, special assistant to the director, Army National Guard for logistics, acquisition, installation and environment, administered the oath of office. Later during the ceremony, Heitkamp presented Wilz a U.S. flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol building. Brig. Gen. Bob Becklund, the deputy adjutant general for the N.D. National Guard, presented Wilz with a certificate of congratulations from Gov. Doug Burgum.

“I hope that I am doing the right thing for those who follow by being a role model and breaking down barriers; because it is not about being the first, but ensuring that you are not the last that counts,” Wilz said. “I have had great mentors that have told me just to take care of people because the world is about relationships. Take care of the soldiers and airmen who serve under you, and your career will go well.”

Wilz enlisted in the N.D. Army National Guard in 1983 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1986 at age 19, becoming one of the youngest officers in the organization. During her 35-year career, she has served with the 136th Quartermaster Battalion, the 164th Engineer Battalion, the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and Joint Force Headquarters. She has held a variety of leadership positions within the North Dakota National Guard, from platoon leader to the Army Component chief of staff.

Wilz is credited with several overseas deployments. In 1990, she served with the 132nd Quartermaster Company in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. In 2009, she mobilized to Kosovo with the 141st MEB for a NATO international peacekeeping mission. From June 2015 until August 2017, she served as the commander for NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo and as the senior military representative for Camp Butmir, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recently, she served in Puerto Rico, leading National Guard forces who were helping the island recover from the damage incurred by Hurricane Maria.

Although Wilz is still a member of the N.D. Army National Guard, she has been assigned as the special assistant to the director, Army National Guard, in Arlington, since September 2017.