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Minnesota National Guard
VIDEO: KARE 11 -- Minnesota National Guard to receive unique mental health services

By Allen Costantini, KARE 11

Minnesota National Guard Soldiers will have access to mental health professionals free of charge
(Run time 2:14)

The stress of combat in Iraq is obvious The stress of coming home again can be no less dangerous

"Twenty-two months of separation doesn't enhance most relationships," says Minnesota National Guard Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel John Morris "So, single biggest issue for married Soldiers: their marriage relationship, followed by parenting issues There is nothing in the Army arsenal to train you to be married or train you to be a parent"

Minnesota's human contribution to the Iraq War was the longest deployment by any National Guard unit Now, those returned Guardsmen and women will have mental health services more readily available than any group of Soldiers in the past

It comes in the form of a pilot program by TriWest Healthcare Alliance and the Minnesota Guard TriWest serves military personnel in 21 western and Midwestern states TriWest Vice President Scott Celley stood alongside Governor Tim Pawlenty at the Capitol to make the announcement

"The groundbreaking, trailblazing approach that has occurred in Minnesota is now being shared in other places"

Celley says only California has even a limited version of the Minnesota project

It is called the Triwest Embedded Behavioral Health Provider Program Mental health professionals will be placed, or "embedded", at 22 armories around the state They will be present whenever Guard members are there for training for drilling There will be no cost to the Soldiers

Minnesota Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito hopes the program will remove any stigma for combat veterans dealing mental health issues The mental health professionals will be with the units constantly, face-to-face with the Soldiers and instantly available Chaplain Morris has been instrumental in the program's implementation

"For my young, single Soldiers, we see a lot of depression It is not too hard to understand You've just been to the "SuperBowl" You've done the biggest thing that you may do in your whole life and you've come home and you're in a different place than your peers They've moved on They've been to the mall, while you've been to war and you are stuck in time, so to speak, and need to catch up"

Governor Pawlenty explained that the program is open to all military personnel in the state
"Certainly, there's a near-term need for the returning brigade and the 2,600 from the first brigade combat team, but these services are not limited to those individuals"

The announcement Wednesday morning included the caveat that most returning Soldiers are able to rejoin family and friends with few problems Inevitably, however, as with any war deployment in history, others return needing support and counseling

"We see some chemical abuse by some of our Soldiers, small minority, but it happens," Morris commented "It happens across the country, followed by motor vehicle issues The leading cause of death across the nation is motorcycle accidents for Soldiers So, addressing that kind of need for speed, that need to fill the adrenalin rush of combat with something else"

The program comes at a time when the suicide rates in the Army are at a 26-year high

Photo By Allen Costantini, KARE 11 News

Article source: http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=267053

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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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