WSMR highlights Veteran Brandon C. Gangstad for National American Indian Heritage Month

Anne Marie Chadima, White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (November 16, 2023) – The Army story cannot be told without reflecting on the remarkable contributions made by Native Americans who have a long history of serving with honor, dedication, and distinction. Observing National American Indian Heritage Month provides us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the service of over 150,00 current Native American Soldiers and veterans. Although Native Americans make up one percent of the Armed Forces, they serve five times the national average.

On November 15, White Sands Missile Range honored one of its own Operations Officers and Bear Clan member of the Ojibwe Tribe, Brandon C. Gangstad at the Professional Development Center as the guest speaker for this year’s observance. During his presentation Gangstad reflected on his time serving in the Army, offered constructive ways to observe National American Indian Heritage Month, and taught the attendees Ojibwe phrases and his clan’s structure whose members are the hunters and warriors of the Ojibwe Tribe.

Gangstad joined the Army his junior year of high school in 1983 and served for 23 years. Throughout his military career he served in many duty positions and locations including Fort Liberty as an Airborne Ranger Jump Master, Fort Riley as a Stinger Platoon Sergeant and First Sergeant, Fort Johnson as an Observer Controller, Schofield Barracks as an Operations Sergeant Major and lastly at Fort Bliss as the Installation G3 Sergeant Major until he retired in September 2006.

During Gangstad’s time serving, he received countless awards including Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Master Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab. He is currently a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and recipient of the Field Artillery Corps Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

America’s diversity is a great strength and the Army’s inclusivity involves understanding the value individuals bring, ensuring that every member of the force can reach his or her full potential and optimizing all to build high performing and cohesive teams. Recognizing diversity as a leadership competency enables the Department of Defense to harness the unique attributes of our all-volunteer force to fight and win our nation’s wars.