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Minnesota National Guard
Women take to the skies on Christmas

While their families, children and friends back home sat down for Christmas Eve dinner, two all-female UH-60 Black Hawk crews woke up early Christmas morning and began preparing for a unique mission

Female Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment spent their Christmas Day executing a 100 percent female-run flight mission From the intelligence briefings in the morning, to the two four-woman flight crews, all the way to the fuel teams, the mission consisted of only women

Black Hawk pilot Capt Andrea Ourada, said the mission was not about busting open stereotypes or challenging the status quo, but rather about showing people how much women in the Army do already

"It's not about proving you can do the job you're already qualified to do, it's about how we have the capability to do it," Ourada said "Our Army is a lot more diverse than I think we realize"

Ourada flew in the lead aircraft with Pilot Chief Warrant Officer 4 Teresa Burgess and Crew Chiefs Staff Sgt Michelle Smith, and Sgt Leilani Aho The trail aircraft was piloted by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Angela Barros and Capt Phoebe Inigo with Crew Chiefs Sgt Michelle Aina and Sgt Crisaron Voeuth

The crews flew all over Baghdad picking up VIPs including US Rep Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota The crews also transported a general and several Soldiers during the general aviation support mission The mission went off just as planned, and while the women associated with the mission respected the unique nature of the flight, they wanted their fellow Soldiers to see the event as no big deal

"It's just another day at the office," Aina said before the flight

While an all-female mission might challenge the perception of combat gender roles in today's Army, Burgess said that's not what the flight was all about

"I don't think this will change any gender stereotypes that are already present, and I'm not here to change any minds," she said "We are doing it because we can"

Ourada added that the Black Hawk doesn't care who runs the controls and soon a flight of this nature will be commonplace

"It can be the norm," she said "That aircraft operates the same way whether it's a male or female behind the controls" The crew executed its Christmas Day mission and returned safely with no fanfare or exposure The mission appeared just like any other

However, Barros said the mission was a reminder that there is still a great deal of work to be done before it can be considered just another mission

"Women in the military have overcome some huge barriers," she said "I believe this mission will be an eye opener, but unfortunately, I'm afraid the stereotypes will always be there It's how our society was brought up Even at the end of 2007, [we're considering this] an historic event"

The National Guard unit houses Soldiers from Washington, Minnesota and Hawaii

Not only was the mission all female, but all three states were represented by the women executing it

Lt. Col. Gregory Thingvold, 2-147 Commander, commented on how important the flight was, for not only the National Guard, but for young women back home

"This demands attention," he said "Young ladies need good role models in their life Our culture twists around to a fault what women should strive for in life Here is an opportunity to showcase women in combat executing a combat mission I want young women around this country to see these amazing women in action"

Burgess said that no matter what this mission does to the Army's gender stereotypes, it is still very important to the youth of the United States to see what women in the Army do on a daily basis

"The one thing I hope this mission does is show little girls that they can do this," she said "A lot of them don't seem to know this"

By Sgt Dale Sweetnam
Task Force 49 Public Affairs Office


Dec. 25, 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Regiment All-Women Flight photo gallery

Video interviews with Capt. Ourada, Chief Warrant Officer Barros, and Capt. Inigo about working on an all-female helicopter crew.

B-roll video taken during mission.



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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
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About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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