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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Serving Our Nation: Reitmeier, Covert, Smith

  • Soldiers with local connections in the military.


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  • Reitmeier becomes U.S. Marine
    Pvt. Zachary L. Reitmeier, 20, earned the title “U.S. Marine” upon graduating from Marine Corps recruit training in San Diego on June 15, 2012. Reitmeier enters into a proud, lifelong brotherhood composed of the select few men and women who have earned their place in the Corps’ ranks.
        
    Putting his recruit’s honor, courage and commitment to the test, Reitmeier faced the physically and mentally rigorous challenges packed into the 13 weeks of Marine Corps boot camp. The training was designed to enhance raw talent and to create the morale and discipline required of all Marines.
        
    During recruit training, Reitmeier joined others from across the country to undertake the quest to be among the world’s military elite. He learned time-honored military customs and courtesies and mastered close-order drill. The demanding physical fitness regimen placed Reitmeier in the best shape of his life. The training honed vital military skills such as marksmanship, first-aid, martial arts and leadership.
        
    Following approximately 10 days of well-earned leave, Reitmeier will attend school to learn his occupational specialty. Then he will report to his first duty station to gain further knowledge and experience serving with a Marine Corps unit.
        
    Reitmeier, the son of Shelby Reitmeier, is a 2010 graduate of Crookston High School. He was enlisted by Staff Sgt. Dale J. Servold from the Marine Corps recruiting office in Fargo, N.D.
    Dirks' son-in-law, Capt. Andrew P. Covert, takes command
    Capt. Andrew P. Covert became the new commanding officer of the Crossroads of the Navy Naval Air Facility Washington on June 1, 2012. Capt. Covert is married to Wendy (Dirks), a Central High School graduate and daughter of Darline and the late Robert Dirks of Crookston.
        
    Capt. Covert earned a bachelor of science degree at Maine Maritime Academy and was commissioned an Ensign through NROTC in 1989 and a Naval Aviator the following year and completed initial fleet replacement training in the CH-53E helicopter in 1991. He earned a Master of Science degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, and has completed Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I and II.
        
    His operational assignments include CH-53E and MH-53E squadron tours with the “Black Stallions” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4), in Sigonella, Italy and with the “Vanguard” of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen (HM-14) in Norfolk, VA. In 2004, he served as a Plans and Policy Officer assigned to Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-I) in Baghdad. Additionally, from 2008-2009, he commanded HM-14, the Navy’s largest operational helicopter squadron. During his Executive Officer and Commanding Officer tour the squadron established a forward deployed detachment in Japan and Korea, and earned consecutive Battle Efficiency awards. Capt. Covert has deployed to 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet in support of Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Allied Force, Shining Hope, and Iraqi Freedom.
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    Capt. Covert’s shore and staff assignments include CH/MH-53E Fleet Replacement instructor pilot with Helicopter Marine Training Squadron 302 (HMT-302), Reserve Programs Director at Naval Air Reserve (NAR) Norfolk, and most recently as Expeditionary Helicopter Requirements Officer for Director, Air Warfare Division (OPNAV N88).
        
    Capt. Covert’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (2), and numerous other unit and campaign awards. He and his wife Wendy reside in Centreville, Va. with their sons Dylan, 18, and Grant, 15, and their chocolate lab Buck.
    Smith graduates from training course
    Army National Guard Pvt. Samuel Smith has graduated from the Basic Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember Advanced Individual Training course at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla. The course is designed to train service members to maintain, prepare and load ammunition for firing; operate and perform operator maintenance on prime movers, self-propelled Howitzers, and ammunition vehicles; store, maintain, and distribute ammunition to using units as a member of battery or battalion ammunition section; perform crew maintenance and participate in organizational maintenance of weapons and related equipment; and establish and maintain radio and wire communications.
        
    Smith, a 2009 graduate of Crookston High School, is the son of Helen and Lonnie Smith of Crookston.

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