LTC Ted Preister

Professor of Military Science


LTC Ted M. Preister was assigned as Professor of Military Science at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, in August of 2013.  Immediately prior to that assignment, he was assigned to the Joint Interagency Task Force - South (JIATFS) in Key West, Fl, where he served as the Collection Manager/GEOINT Chief and subsequently moved to be the Intelligence Operations Chief.  As such, he was responsible for planning and reviewing all efforts by JIATFS single source analysts in support of the Command’s Detection and Monitoring mission.  He was also responsible for refining and improving the entire Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (TCPED) process. 


From May 2008 to August 2010, then MAJ Preister served as the Brigade Intelligence Officer for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, CO.  He built an IBCT intelligence section from a small core during the training cycle before deploying to Afghanistan for OEF-X.  In Afghanistan he was responsible for the entire spectrum of intelligence activities in the provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman (N2KL) in Afghanistan and operated what was widely recognized as the most effective BCT “Fusion Cell” in theater at the time.


As a Captain from March 2004 through June 2007, he served as the Intelligence Instructor for the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning GA.  Responsible for refining and delivering intelligence curricula of the Officer Candidate School, Basic Officer Leader Course and Maneuver Captain’s Career Course.  He was responsible for actively integrating real world examples and anecdotes to build relevance for the Company Grade officers/students who would soon deploy globally.


Prior to his time in GA he served as an Infantry Battalion Intelligence Officer, Assistant Brigade Intelligence Officer and Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander in the 4500 man 2nd Brigade, 1st AD, Baumholder, Germany from August 2001 to February 2004.  He was responsible for all source support to tactical/operational intelligence planning and operations at multiple levels before being selected to lead the Brigade Headquarters Company and deploy to Iraq for OIF-I. 


As a Lieutenant from March 1996 through March 1999 he served as an Infantry Platoon Leader and Battalion Logistics Officer in the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry, at Schofield Barracks, HI.  He was responsible for the training and employment of all men and systems in a 34 man platoon and subsequently all budgeting, logistics and transportation requirements for the 520 man battalion.  

His military education as an officer includes: MS, Adult and Continuing Education from Kansas State University, Manhattan KS, May 2008, Graduate of Intermediate Level Education (ILE) of Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth KS, May 2008, Graduate of Military Intelligence Transition and Captians Career Courses, Fort Huachuca, AZ Jan 2001, Graduate of Infantry Officer Basic Course, Fort Benning GA, Nov1995, BS, Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining, Colorado School of Mines, Golden CO, Jan 1995

LTC Preister's awards and decorations include: The Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two subsequent awards, Army Commendation Medal with two subsequent awards, Army Achievement Medal with subsequent award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Citation, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Army Parachutists Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

LTC Preister is married to the former Lisa Schweisthal who is pursuing a graduate degree in Natural Resources Management at North Dakota State University and is the father of Helaena, a precocious second grader.  He enjoys hunting big game and fowl as well as all kinds gourmet cooking. He is also an avid reader of SciFi/Fantasy genres and a relatively skilled cabinet maker.

CPT Ryan Schulz

Assistant Professor of Military Science / National Guard Liaison

  Captain Ryan Andrew Schulz was born April 24th 1984 in Bismarck, North Dakota. He attended Bismarck High School in Bismarck, ND graduating in May of 2002, upon completion he joined the North Dakota National Guard and attended Basic Training and AIT in Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Captain Schulz then attended North Dakota State University where he studied Physical Education and minored in coaching. While attending he completed ROTC training through North Dakota State University, graduating and receiving his commission on May 9th 2008. Captain Schulz serves in the North Dakota Army National Guard through which he attended the Engineer Officer Basic Course in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

  Captain Ryan Schulz is currently in the 141 MEB Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the North Dakota Army National Guard and is also an Assistance Professor of Military Science at North Dakota State University. Captain Schulz's previous assignment was serving as the Detachment Commander of the 188th Engineer Company (v). While serving in the 188th EN CO (V) he deployed to Kuwait in Operation of Enduring Freedom from Aug 2011 to 2012. CPT Schulz started his military career as an enlisted member in the 957th Multi Role Bridge Company out of Bismarck, ND with the North Dakota Army National Guard.

CPT Benjamin Birtles

Assistant Professor of Military Science
Captain Benjamin E. Birtles was born on October of 1981 in Louisville, KY. He enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a 41L (Administrative Specialist) on 21 February, 2001.  He attended Basic Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the summer of 2001 and completed Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in July of 2002. His first assignment was with the 209th Quartermaster Company, 300th Corps Support Battalion, 88th Regional Support Command, Lafayette, Indiana.  In February of 2003 he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq with the 142nd CSB, 3rd COSCOM in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Captain Birtles earned his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in May of 2007 from Reserve Officer Training Corps at Purdue University.  His first assignment following the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course was Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  He served as the Distribution Platoon Leader for the Forward Support Company, 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. In July of 2008, Captain Birtles deployed with the Taskforce Saber in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed, he served as a detachment commander and logistical advisor for TF Saber and aviation operations in Multinational Division - North. Upon returning from Iraq, CPT Birtles served as the Executive Officer for Fox Troop, 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment until January of 2011. CPT Birtles received orders and transitioned to the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course in Fort Lee, Virginia. Upon completion of training at Fort Lee, VA , CPT Birtles transitioned to Fort Carson, Colorado assigned to the 43rd Sustainment Brigade. He served as the Brigade Plans Officer until deployed to Afghanistan in February of 2013. While in Afghanistan, CPT Birtles served as the Task Force Forces Manager in support of the CENTCOM Material Retrograde Element mission. He redeployed in May of 2013 to Fort Carson, Colorado, where he took command of the 183rd Support Maintenance Company. CPT Birtles served as the commander of the 183rd Support Maintenance Company until December of 2014 when he transitioned to Fargo, North Dakota to serve as the Executive Officer and Assistant Professor of Military Science at North Dakota State University.


Captain Birtles holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Material Logistics from North Dakota State University. His military schooling includes: Mountain Warfare School (Winter Phase), Combatives Level 1, Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Sling Load Inspector’s Course, Support Operations Phase I and II, Mortuary Affairs Officer’s Course, Petroleum Officer’s Course, and the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course (CLC3). 

Captain Birtles’ awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal,  Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (AFRM) with "M" Device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.


Captain Birtles is married to Cailen Mariah Birtles of Midlothian, Virginia.


SFC Jeffery O'Marrah

Military Science Instructor

  SFC O'Marrah was born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany and as an Army dependent was raised around the world. He graduated from Thornwood High School in Chicago IL, and joined the Army in July of 1991. SFC O'Marrah went through OSUT and graduated as an 11B at Fort Benning, GA.

  After completing OSUT and Airborne School, SFC O'Marrah was assigned to Bravo Company 1st-501st PIR at Fort Richardson, AK. There he served as a RTO, M60 Gunner, 60MM mortar assistant gunner and a Rifle Team Leader. In 1995 he ETSed from active duty and joined the IL National Guard and was reassigned to Charlie Company 1-131st Infantry, serving two years as a Weapons Squad Leader. He reentered Active duty in Dec of 1998 and was assigned to Charlie Company 3-327 INF, Air Assault Fort Campbell KY. There he served as a M249 gunner and Rifle Team Leader. In 2000, SFC O'Marrah reported back to Alaska this time to 2-1 INF Fort Wainwright. There he served as a Rifle Team Leader and Squad Leader. He deployed to OIF 1 in 2003 and served as a Coalition Military Adviser Training Team member, one of only five Americans in a 33 man International platoon. On his return in 2004 2-1 INF transitioned into the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He redeployed to Iraq in Aug 2005 and served as a Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant for the surge into Baghdad. After the extended tour of 16 months he was reassigned to United States Army Central Command 3rd Army Fort McPherson GA., where he served as the Operations Sergeant G3 Training, Exercise and Simulations. In Sep 2009 SFC O'Marrah was assigned to Bravo Company 1-8 CAV. Fort Hood TX., and served as Platoon Sergeant and Company 1SG. SFC O'Marrah was then assigned to North Dakota State University in Nov 2012.

  SFC O'Marrah's military education includes Airborne School, Combat Life Saver, Air Assault Course, Warrior Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Senior Leaders Course, Unit Armor Course, Cold Weather Leadership Course, and Machine Gunners Leaders Course.

  SFC O'Marrah's awards and decorations include the MSM (1OLC), Joint Service Accommodation Medal, ARCOM (3 OLC), AAM (4 OLC), AGCM (6th Award), Humanitarian Service Medal, NDSM (with star), ICM (4 stars), GWTEM, GWTSM, NCOPD (Number 3), ASR, OSR (Number 3), the Valorous Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation (1 OLC), British and Thai Jump Wings, EIB, CIB, Airborne Wings, and the Air Assault Badge.

  SFC O'Marrah is married to the former Ms. Christina Perkins of Chugiak, AK. They have one son Liam.


Mr. Ronald Joyce

Recruiting Operations Officer

  Ron Joyce enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard Feb 1985 as a college student, played division two football and participated in the NAIA Division I national championship football playoffs twice. Ron was a Tri-Captain his senior year, played defense. Declining offers to sign with and play for different NFL and USFL teams. In 1989 he graduated from the Minnesota Military Academy where he attended the Officer Candidate School and commissioned in 1990 as an Infantry Officer. Has held positions of Infantry Platoon Leader, XO, 2nd BN 136th IN Co C, XO, Company Commander, Sr. Tactical Officer, MN OCS, Battalion Motor Officer, BN S-3 Air, 1st BDE S-3 assistant, 84th Troop Command S-3 asst, 84th Troop Command S-2, FA30 G-5 Planner for 34th Division G-7, IO/IE ,and G-7 Assessments Officer for the 34th ID. Ron's current assignment is with the 175th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) at Camp Ripley Minnesota as the S-1 officer.

  As of Sept 2000, has been a contractor for the Department of Defense through MPRI, and Comtechnologies, and The Ventura Group for NDSU Army ROTC. He has deployed 18 month to Afghanistan Feb 06 to July 07, Embedded Tactical Trainer 207th Corp and in Feb 09 he deployed to Iraq 15 months, Feb 2009 to April 2010. Mr. Joyce is currently the Enrollment Counselor and Freshman Instructor at North Dakota State University Army ROTC. He has participated in many different training missions with the Minnesota Army National Guard. He has trained with War fighter Ft. Leavenworth, multiple Simnets FT. Knox, FT. Hood, and 1996 CMTC Hoenfels and Grafenwoehr Germany during rotations for Bosnia and NATO training missions. He has achieved numerous military and civilian awards.

Ms. Sharon James

Human Resources Technician

  Sharon L. James was born in Linton, North Dakota, where she completed high school. She received an Associate Degree at Bismarck State College and Bachelor's Degree in Business Education at the University of North Dakota.

  Ms. James has been employed at the Department of Military Science at North Dakota State University since September 1980 where she has seen approximately 400 cadets become Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. She has worked for 12 Professors of Military Science (and she's not done yet!).

  Prior to employment at NDSU, Ms. James was an instructor at Interstate Business College in Fargo, North Dakota. She also taught adult education classes for several years in Moorhead, Minnesota and in Fargo. She was also previously employed by the telephone companies in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota.

Mrs. Ruth Wirtz

Administrative Assistant

  Ruth Anne Wirtz was born January 1978 in Ada, MN. She attended Ada-Borup High School graduating in May 1996. On April 30, 1997 she joined the US Army and attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, VA, where she was trained as an Automated Logistical Supply Specialist. Ruth was assigned to the 320th Engineer Company (Topographic) in Hanau, Germany from October 1997 - April 2001 where she was a Supply Specialist and Combat Lifesaver. After 4 years of Active Duty, Ruth came back to the United States and joined the Minnesota Army National Guard. She was as a Supply Specialist and New Recruit Instructor in Alpha Company, 434th Main Support Battalion at Camp Ripley, Minnesota. She also served as an Ammunition Supply Specialist for 4 years during the summer months. In December 2005, Ruth was Honorable Discharged from the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Specialist.

  Ruth's awards include Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Minnesota National Guard Commendation Medal, Minnesota National Guard Good Conduct Medal, Minnesota National Guard Service Medal.

  In May 2006, Ruth graduated from NDSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. While attending college she was an officer in the Criminal Justice Club, a member of the Psychology Club, attended ROTC classes, and played Rugby.

  Ruth is married to Michael and they have 3 girls; Lillian, Lucille, and Eliza. They also have 3 dogs; Toby, Trevor, & Tanner.

Mr. Shawn O'Donnell

Supply Technician

  Mr Shawn O'Donnell was born in Fargo North Dakota in March of 1980. He was raised in Dilworth and Moorhead Minnesota and now lives in Fargo, North Dakota. Shawn graduated from Moorhead high school in 1999 and continued his education at the Minnesota Community and Technical College in Moorhead Minnesota for three years. He studied Information Technology router and switch troubleshooting, maintenance and programming. Shawn also studied Computer hardware maintenance, webpage design and administration as well as email and server administration. While Shawn was attending college he worked full time as the Head of Security in the West Acres Mall in Fargo North Dakota. He also worked part time for the Department of Aerospace Studies at North Dakota State University as a Storekeeper and Supply Technician for several years.

  In July of 2005 he was employed full time as a Storekeeper/Supply Technician and supports both the Departments of Military Science and Aerospace Studies. In addition he provides the IT technical expertise for computer and computer systems maintenance and serves as the Liaison for the Army ROTC with the North Dakota State University Information Technology Systems. Shawn is strongly involved in community services as a member of the Emergency Vehicle Assistance and Communications (EVAC) organization and volunteers much of his spare time supporting events such as Special Olympics, and the local police and sheriff's departments in traffic control, crowd control, in support of major events or disasters. Shawn is also a leading member in a local Search and Rescue group and has frequently participated in many real search and rescue efforts. Shawn also volunteers his time with the West Fargo Police Department's Youth Academy which teaches high school students about the different aspects of Law Enforcement. Shawn is also an active member of the Red River Valley Fraternal Order of Police.