to the top of the page

Military Affairs

Military Affairs

They are our friends, neighbors, and for some of us, they are family. They fight for their country and make sacrifices, so we don't have to. Because of their dedication to our country and their sacrifices, the Minot community has embraced the Minot Air Force Base and the people who make it great. The men and women of the Minot Air Force Base are part of our community and we are proud to have them here. 

Supporting the Base for Six Decades
More than 60 years ago a group of community leaders persuaded the Air Force to build a new base north of Minot. They even came up with a $50,000 donation to buy some of the land. That was only the beginning of transforming a small community on the northern plains into one of the most Air Force-friendly cities in the nation. 

Programs
While Minot’s programs and events help boost morale and create lasting relationships between airmen and local residents, they also have a much broader purpose that distinguishes our community from the rest.     
Local organizers have developed activities to create a small army of civic and business leaders who can articulate the needs of airmen and the base to decision-makers on the local, state, and national levels. Results of this approach in just the past year include a state income tax exemption for military retirement pay and changes in state law to benefit military spouses and dependents.  

Nuclear Triad Symposium
The signature national event is the Nuclear Triad Symposium, hosted annually by Minot civic and business leaders in Washington, D.C. A delegation of people from Minot travels to D.C. each year where they arrange a full-day program with discussion from nationally recognized military experts on the three legs of the nuclear triad.

Sportsmen's Feed
Attendees of the Annual Sportsmen’s Feed will see airmen and their families playing cornhole toss, Bingo, or simply enjoying the NFL’s title games on the big screen. The day is filled with 200-300 airmen and their families intermingling with civilians from Minot.  
 
The event started 54 years ago as a stag party mainly for enlisted airmen but has evolved into a get-together focused on providing a day of fun and fellowship for airmen and their families. The event is coordinated by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce. Around 50 businesses donate prizes that are given away throughout the day and sponsorships provide free tickets to airmen. For each ticket purchased by a civilian, another is donated to an airman and leftover food is also delivered to airmen who man 24-hour duty stations could not attend. 
 
The meal is prepared mostly by civilians and retired airmen. To add another element of fun, and keep a touch of the stag tradition, officers are invited to the butcher shop a day before where they help prepare some of the meat. What started out informally as a way for a few enlisted airmen to have a fun day feasting on wild game, is one of the most popular time-honored traditions for airman and their families.  

Prairie Warrior Auction
Going once! Going twice! SOLD! 
That’s what you’ll hear at the Prairie Warrior Association Auction, along with some good-natured ribbing after people outbid each other on items like footballs signed by NFL players, concert tickets to the North Dakota State Fair, and even a seven-course dinner for eight at the homes of the 5th Bomb Wing Commander and 91st Missile Wing Commander.  
 
It’s another event that brings airmen and civilians together, this time for a good cause. The items up for bid – via a live and silent auction – are all donated by area businesses with a mix of Air Force memorabilia made and donated by various airmen. The Minot Area Chamber of Commerce enlists volunteers to ask local businesses for donated items and cash to buy auction items. The money raised goes to help support the base’s competition teams, squadron activities, annual awards banquets, and Operation Warmheart (a year-round program providing essentials such as food, clothing, etc., to needy service members and their families, as well as Thanksgiving baskets during the holiday season).
 
The $25 admission fee gets people into the door where they are encouraged to start bidding wars against airmen or civilians and enjoy some tasty hors d’oeuvres like smoked salmon, shrimp, roast beef, and cheese. The event has raised nearly $800,000 over the past 33 years for the morale efforts in the Minot Air Force Base.  

International Military Ball
The ultimate in elegance can be found at Minot’s International Military Ball where participants are treated to a seven-course meal, military tradition, and world-class musical entertainment.  
 
This is yet another Minot tradition where civilians and airmen, from the U.S. and Canada, mingle and get to know each other at the gala event. The evening starts with a brief social hour followed by dinner. A salad and fancy hors d’oeuvres are served first, followed by a delicious meal that often includes a juicy steak and jumbo shrimp and a decadent dessert. 
During dinner, civilians learn about military tradition by cheerfully toasting the President of the United States and Her Majesty the Queen for the Canadian friends who attend. Then the mood becomes somber as guests are directed to observe a table set up to recognize all the POW/MIA members of all the branches of the military.  
 
After the military traditions are complete, guests are entertained by a contingent of bagpipers that come from Canada. They then head to the dance floor to finish off the night dancing away to the big sound of a military band. Civilians wear tuxedos and members of the military, both American and Canadian, wear their formal military uniforms.
For 29 years the International Military Ball has provided an elegant and fun way for civilians and members of the military to build goodwill and have fun. 

Military Appreciation Events
With more than 200 animals that originate from all over the world, the Roosevelt Park Zoo is the perfect backdrop for the Military Appreciation Day in the summer. Members of the military get free admission to the zoo, as well as a free lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, side salads and ice cream served by volunteers. The event has become so popular that around 1,300 people attended the event. It’s a common sight to see an airman and their spouses and children going through the food line before they have some fun in the park.  
 
The event has expanded over the years and now includes free admission to not only the zoo, but also the Roosevelt Park pool and Souris Valley Golf Course. The event is co-sponsored by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and the Minot Park District and wouldn’t be possible without volunteers whose jobs range from organizing the event to cooking hot dogs and serving ice cream. 
 
Military Day at the Zoo is the premiere military appreciation event, but there are countless other events that offer military appreciation days. The North Dakota State Fair hosts Military Appreciation Day where airmen can get reduced admission to the Fair, a free roast beef picnic and free carnival rides. The Norsk Hostfest, the largest Scandinavian Festival in North America, also offers a military appreciation day where airmen and their families can get in for free and receive a $20 discount on concert tickets to the Little Chicago Band for this year’s event. Minot State University also provides free admission to several sporting events for airmen each year. 

Businesses Support the Base
Dozens of businesses offer discounts to airmen. For example, Dickey’s Barbeque delivers free meals to the hospital to airmen and their families that are having a baby. Country Inn & Suites offers free room upgrades to members of the military and gives away teddy bears with military uniforms for military children. 
 
Other forms of military appreciation included participation at events, special tours or donations to base events and fundraisers. The electric utility on the base, Verendrye Electric Cooperative, provides free safety demonstrations for elementary school kids on base and provides tours each year to a wind farm, power plant and coal mine for airmen who want to learn about the energy industry. Local oil companies have also hosted airmen on tours of oil drilling rigs, and local civic groups like the Young Professionals reached out to airmen to invite them to a free Leadership Summit in which several airmen attended. The Minot YMCA works with Air Force youth groups at the summer Y Camp and offers a military discount. Many individuals invite airmen on fishing and hunting trips or even just for a night out for dinner at a local restaurant or at their home. Those are just some of the examples.