BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today released the following statement on the passing of retired North Dakota Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Al Palmer, who served on the governor’s Task Force for Veterans Affairs created in 2018. Palmer died Tuesday at age 69.
Palmer began his military career with the U.S. Air Force in 1972, serving a tour in Thailand during the Vietnam War, and joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1981, eventually serving as chief of staff and assistant adjutant general. In his civilian career, he spent more than 30 years with the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, including 10 years as director of flight operations. He also was instrumental in establishing the Grand Forks Veterans Memorial Park and saw the park come to fruition with a dedication ceremony on Sept. 11, 2021.
“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 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.”