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Minnesota National Guard
Tribute to the troops

With the long months of separation behind them and after some time to readjust, it was time for members of the Army National Guard 2-136th to celebrate

The community turned out in full force - approximately 2,700 - at the VFW Saturday to dance, dine and just be happy the troops are home. Before the party started, approximately 300 Soldiers and their families gathered to eat and reunite with those who had become their surrogate families. During the months of separation from their loved ones, families left behind formed a tight bond.

"It's a good thing, seeing families we haven't seen for two months, after we spent two years together," said Nancy Purdon, whose son, Jeffrey Purdon, was gone for 22 months "The support definitely helped a lot Someone to talk to was only a phone call or e-mail away"

"I think it's great that they waited long enough for Soldiers to reconnect with their families before having a celebration to welcome them home," said Judy Clark, whose son, Kristopher, was wounded overseas and earned a Purple Heart

Kristopher helped plan Saturday's party

"It was a lot of work and it's great seeing it all come together,"� he said "It's going to be a good night"

The celebration was the culmination of 22 months of waiting for Crystal Hellkamp and her husband, Donavan Hellkamp Although it wasn't easy, Crystal and their three children learned how to play the waiting game

"We just lived day by day and prayed for the next holiday to be over so it would be closer for the time for him to come home,"� she said

For some, it was a night of triumph After encountering a a roadside bomb in Fallujah that resulted in a broken back, Adam Drechsel was able to walk into the VFW and enjoy the evening with everyone else He was overseas for six months before being wounded

"I was glad to come home,"� he admitted, "but I was disappointed to have to leave the guys behind"

That he is able to walk does not surprise him

"The first thing I made sure to do was wiggle my toes,"� he said

Since their July return, Soldiers have worked at getting on with their lives After 16 months in Iraq, what Aaron Johnson noticed most when he returned was, "How clean it is There's so much dust over there I missed the cooler weather"

Johnson is back at his job with UPS in Fargo

"Driving vehicles has been hard to get used to again, and being in crowded places,"� he said "It's the mindset you get used to, that you always have to be on your guard"

The event was capped off by a presentation of medals to the following Soldiers: Sgt Brian Kutter received the Army Achievement Award; Spc Kristopher Clark, Army commendation; Sgt Louis Karsnia, bronze star; and Lt. Col. Stroud, Purple Heart

By Susan Larson (Contact) | The Daily Journal
Article source: www.fergusfallsjournals.com

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Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."

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Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
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"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
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The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

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