In honor of all those who serve, KX News is continuing to share the stories of our community’s veterans as a part of our special series Veteran’s Voices. Today we are honoring a guardsman who was the first woman to be named to the highest position attainable in the North Dakota Army National Guard.
Shelly Sizer enlisted in the guard in 1978 because she was inspired by her father’s patriotism and life of service.
“I watched my father in the military and I watched him treat people fairly, and I learned from his work ethic. And, from my mother I got my grit and perseverance,” said Sizer.
When Sizer joined she was given the choice of heading to Fargo or Valley City. She chose to serve in combat administration in Valley City where her father was also stationed. For eight years they served alongside each other in the same unit.
“My dad and I were always close but I would say that brought us even closer together. And, my mom would always tease us because we would come home and we would be talking in military acronyms, and she would be like I don’t know what you guys are talking about. What’s ASSP mean and what does FPM mean, haha.”
“My dad and I were always close but I would say that brought us even closer together. And, my mom would always tease us because we would come home and we would be talking in military acronyms, and she would be like I don’t know what you guys are talking about. What’s ASSP mean and what does FPM mean? haha!”
Sizer would go on to be stationed overseas, in places like Korea and Kosovo.
The high point of her career came in December of 2014 when she became the first female guardsman to be named to the highest position attainable in the Army National Guard. At the ceremony, it was Sizer’s father Gordan who affixed the new rank on her uniform.
“My highest position obtained was the Command Chief Warrant Officer for the State of North Dakota. I haven’t put emphasis on gender so much. I mean to me we’re all soldiers. So to me advancement should be based on the most qualified person for the position,” explained Sizer.
Sizer comes from a long lineage of soldiers. Her stepdad served in the Korean War and recieved a Bronze Star.
And, she showed KX News a telegram that her family recieved in 1917 about her great great grandfather who was serving in World War 1.
Sizer read the telegram to KX New, “We deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Private Menton Gunnerud infantry died September 30th from wounds received in action.”
After 40 extraordinary years in the guard, Sizer is now a veteran. Her father coincidentally served in guard for 40 years as well.
Sizer now spends a lot of her time riding with a women’s motorcycle club, camping, and reminiscing about life in the military with her father.
“We share things that other people aren’t aware of, or that other people don’t have. That bond from not only being a father and daughter but also from serving together in the military.”
To see other profiles in courage, you can watch other Veterans Voices segments on KXnet.com.