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Minnesota National Guard
Cavity Lake Wildfire

One of the largest wildfires in Minnesota history erupted on July 14th as a result of a lightening strike This fire would become a large draw on resources from across the state, nation and even Canada During the course of the fire eight helicopters, two CL-215's, two CL-415 from Canada, and two Air Attack planes were utilized to control and extinguish the fire
Included in the eight helicopters that were utilized on the fire was a UH-60A Black Hawk from the 2 Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment from the Minnesota Army National Guard The Army Guard was not alone in their efforts to assist in the fight though; they were joined by the Air National Guard Refueler's from the 148th Fighter Wing took on the challenge of keeping the Black Hawk fueled and the 148th Communications Flight was also tasked with providing support for the Black Hawk mission so they could report back to the Joint Operations Center in St Paul

Governor Tim Pawlenty called two Black Hawk crews to state active duty on July 15th along with some support staff to handle command and control The two Black Hawk's were first dispatched to Bemidji, MN where they worked as back fill until paper work was completed that would allow a State resource to be used on a Federal wildfire They did not sit long however while in Bemidji they two were sent out on two fires

On July 18th one of the Black Hawk's left Bemidji and flew to Grand Marais where it joined efforts to bring under control the Cavity Lake fire At this time two refuelers Master Sgt Jim Davern and Technical Sgt Michael Anderson from Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants(POL) were sent from Duluth to Grand Marais The two of them would fuel the Black Hawk and other helicopters that were being tasked with missions for the wildfire Master Sgt Davern was replaced by Senior Airman Eric Soderstrom when he returned to the 148th Fighter Wing During their mission at the Seagull Lake Guard Station on the Gunflint Trail, which ended on July 31st, the fuel point was set up for the helicopters the refuelers would disperse 6992 gallons of fuel

A team of four personnel from the 148th Communications Flight; Master Sgt Brian Druar, Technical Sgt Tom Walden, Senior Airman Jeff Lanska and Mr Berry Bell; took the Communication Flight's Air Reserve Component - Advanced Communications Element (ARC-ACE)deployable trailer and setup satellite telephone and satellite internet capabilities to provide a means of communication for the personnel in the field to provide status reports back to the commanders in St Paul As of August 14th the Cavity Lake fire had burned nearly 32,000 acres and cost $10,940,000 both numbers will continue to increase until the fire is totally contained

By Staff Sgt Kenneth Toole
July 18, 2006

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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

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