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N.D. Guard marksmen inducted into hall of fame

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Eleven North Dakota National Guard members were inducted into the Maj. Gen. Robert E. Schulte North Dakota National Guard Marksmanship Hall of Fame during an April 14 ceremony in Bismarck.

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Among those inducted was Sgt. 1st Class Gary Varberg, Cooperstown, the most acclaimed shooter in the history of the North Dakota National Guard.

With 45 international match wins, Varberg has competed in more than 100 marksmanship competitions and has held both the titles of Overall North Dakota State Champion (combat rifle and pistol) 23 times and Combat Rifle State Champion 28 times. 

One of three "Double Distinguished" marksmen in the history of the North Dakota National Guard, he has earned the Chief of the National Guard Bureau "Chief's 50" award 12 times, including 10 years in a row.

The 2010 National Champion Biathlon Team was also inducted, including:

Major Eric Nordgren, Pelican Rapids, Minn.; Lt. Blake Hillerson, Fargo; Master Sgt. Kent Pulst and Sgt. Brandon Pulst, both of Penn, N.D.; and coach Sgt. Jordan Becker, Grand Forks, N.D.

Other members inducted include: Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Clayton Brennan, West Fargo; Master Sgt. Norman Weber, of Fargo, (Mrs. Pat Weber to receive on his behalf as he is deceased); Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Lynn Baltrusch, Fessenden; Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Curtis Guenther, Williston; and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Don Wingerter, Bismarck, who founded the NDNG Marksmanship Hall of Fame.

Former inductees who have achieved additional recognition were also honored during the ceremony.

Lt. Jasper Klienjan, of Bismarck, is the first and only member of the North Dakota National Guard Marksmanship Program to earn a position on an Olympic Team. He was a charter member of the 1960 shooting team.

Master Sgt. Dan Marquardt, Bismarck, was the youngest military inductee to the Hall of Fame 17 years ago.

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