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Minnesota National Guard
From Soldier to Stylist: Woman Relishes Return to Civilian Life

PHOTO CREDIT: Times photos by Kimm Anderson, kanderson@stcloudti

Stylist Jennifer Yurczyk cuts Karen Nielsen's hair Friday at Michelle Kenric Hair Studio & Spa in Sartell Yurczyk recently returned from a two-year deployment in Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard

SARTELL - In two plastic tubs at Jennifer Yurczyk's home are all the encouraging thoughts that kept her going while serving in Iraq

While she was away on a two-year deployment with the Minnesota National Guard, her coworkers at Michelle Kenric Hair Studi & Spa collected cards for her with messages from clients who came to the Sartell salon

"Words can't describe what that meant to me," she said

Now Yurczyk is thanking those people in person since she started back at work earlier this month She returned home from Iraq in July and said returning to the salon is "wonderful"

"I've made my rounds," she said of seeing family and friends again She's looking forward to seeing her old clients again

While in Iraq Yurczyk, 30, worked in the mess hall She said she was a small part of something larger, but she likes that in the salon she can make a big difference to her clients

Yurczyk, who gave haircuts while deployed, said being away taught her that life is too short and how important it is for her clients to take time for themselves

"I want them to have everything," she said

The transition from warrior to citizen has gone much better than Yurczyk said she thought it would Her family and friends have been supportive

She also has a friend with whom she served, and the two have been together for about half of their weekends since they've been home

For the first time since she's been home, Yurczyk spent Saturday with the Soldiers she served with They had their 30-day reintegration meeting in Bloomington

Yurczyk has been in the Minnesota National Guard for 13 years and decided not to re-enlist after her deployment She said she's happy to be home with her husband Tim and celebrate their upcoming 10-year anniversary

"I'm done," she said "I'm ready to move on"

By Kari Petrie, St Cloud Times
Article source: http://www.sctimes.com

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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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