Retired North Dakota Air National Guard Brigadier General dies

Photo by: North Dakota Air National Guard
Photo by: North Dakota Air National Guard

(Bismarck, ND) -- Retired North Dakota National Guard brigadier general Al Palmer has died.

Palmer enlisted in the Air Force in 1972 and served tours in Thailand during the Vietnam War and joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1981. He eventually served as chief of staff and assistant adjutant general. 

“Al Palmer had an immeasurable and lasting impact on aviation in North Dakota, from his quiet, steady leadership in the Air National Guard to his roles as a flight instructor and director of flight operations at UND, to coming out of retirement to help lead the UAS program at UND in its early stages,” said Governor Doug Burgum, who as governor serves as commander-in-chief of the North Dakota National Guard. “Al enjoyed helping others succeed and was a strong advocate for the National Guard. He cared deeply for his fellow veterans, and we are grateful for his service on the Task Force for Veterans Affairs and for his service to his country. Kathryn and I extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to his family and friends.”

He spent over 30 years with the University of North Dakota's John D Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and was a force behind the Grand Forks Veterans Memorial Park.

“Brigadier General Palmer was a pivotal leader in North Dakota aviation and aerospace and served our nation honorably as a member of both the Air Force and the North Dakota Air National Guard," said North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. "We look back on his life with gratitude for the many contributions he made, not only in defending our nation, but also in supporting the training of generations of pilots and helping advance North Dakota’s leadership in unmanned aviation. He will be missed and remembered fondly. Mikey and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.”

Palmer served on the governor's Task Force for Veterans Affairs and died Tuesday at 69.