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Minnesota National Guard
Active First Program Helping Army Meet Recruiting Goals


Secretary of the Army Pete Geren; Pvt Michael Raleigh Fehl, of Porter, Minn; Pvt Damien L Jones, of Jennings, Mo; Pfc Matt Millen, of Overland Park, Kan; Pvt Jonathan Wight, of Lavonia, Ga; and Lt Gen Clyde A Vaughn, director, Army National Guard, met Jan 10 during a press conference at the Pentagon to highlight the success of the Army National Guard's "Active First" program Under the program, young men and women are recruited by the National Guard to complete a term of service in both the Active and National Guard components of the Army
Army Photo by C Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON " During a press conference Thursday at the Pentagon, the Army's senior leader said the National Guard's "Active First" program has contributed to the Army staying on-target to reach recruitment goals

"Last month we announced our plans to accelerate end-strength growth to achieve our 74,000 increase by 2010," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren "We're on track to meet that goal And if trends continue, we will exceed it Active First deserves growing credit for helping us meet that goal"

More than 500 recruits have enlisted under Active First since the pilot initiative began Oct 1 Under the program, young men and women are recruited by the National Guard to complete a term of service in both the Active and National Guard components of the Army Those recruits are paid bonuses based on the duration of the active service commitment they choose to accept

Secretary Geren has set a goal of 1,600 enlistments for the program in Fiscal 2008 Lt Gen Clyde A Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard, said he believes the service will have no trouble meeting that goal because of the trust the American public has in the National Guard and because of the care the Army provides to its Soldiers

"The Secretary has tasked us with a goal of 1,600 and that is not going to be hard," he said "It's about trust, it's about reaching out with that big force that we have got out there with recruiters and recruiting the home team The big thing about the National Guard, the big thing about the Army, is we want to take youngsters and put them up on that first step and help them all the way through That's where you get the private, personal mentorship and the care to make sure that you graduate and come out the other end"

Four Soldiers who enlisted under the Active First program attended the press conference Those Soldiers include Pvt Michael Raleigh Fehl, of Porter, Minn; Pvt Damien L Jones, of Jennings, Mo; Pfc Matt Millen, of Overland Park, Kan; and Pvt Jonathan Wight, of Lavonia, Ga Secretary Geren said those Soldiers represent both the relationship between the National Guard and the Army; and what the National Guard is capable of doing with its strong community ties

"These recruits exemplify the best of Active First -- they are the people behind the numbers," he said "Active First is a great partnership; it shows we are one Army -- the National Guard and Active components working together The National Guard is helping recruit people to help grow the all-volunteer force It has its own contacts in the community all over America, and it is these contacts, and the trust the communities of America have in the National Guard, that has enabled this program to get off the ground with such great strength This partnership is bearing great fruit for our total Army"

A career path for a Soldier under the Active First program might begin with six months in a National Guard unit in his or her hometown The Soldier would then enter basic training followed by 30, 36, or 48 months of active duty At the completion of active-duty service, Soldiers return to their National Guard unit and serve one weekend per month and two weeks a year until they complete a total of eight years of military service Depending on their choice of active-duty service time, a Soldier could receive bonuses totaling as much as $60,000

In November, Pvt Wight enlisted under the Active First program He chose a 36-month tour in the active Army and will train as a military policeman He said one of the reasons he chose to enlist is the opportunity it affords him to serve his country But he also said the Army was simply the best deal of the options he explored

"After I checked out the real world, the Army was number one on my list," he said "There are so many things the Army is doing as far as bonuses, training and equipment I mean, it's a hundred billion things"

Another benefit Wight focused on while making his decision to enlist was the support both the Army and the National Guard would provide to his growing family He and his wife Jessica raise their daughter together and have another child on the way

"The Army is going to take care of me and them as well," he said "It means a better lifestyle for our family"

Wight also said he knows his service in the Army will provide benefits for him even after he takes off the uniform for the last time

"I chose the military police, and they will give me the best training possible," he said "After that, if I decide to get out, I can put my resume in anywhere and go from there That was one of the number one things Plus, you just can't find everything the Army offers anywhere else -- I wouldn't trade it for the world"

Pvt Fehl ships out for Army basic training Jan 30 He chose the 30-month option for active service and will train to work in field artillery While impressed with the opportunities the Army offered him, he said family history had a lot to do with his decision to enlist

"My grandpa served in World War II," he said "Before that, his dad was in And my dad was in too We just have a lot of history in the Army I just kind of want to make my family proud and to follow in the footsteps of everybody else"

Another opportunity influencing Fehl's decision to enlist was the chance to leave his hometown of Porter, Minn, with a population of only 300 and a scarcity of good job opportunities

"I mean, I kind of wanted the experience -- to go out, to get out of a smaller town like Porter -- it's 300 people, you know? There's not too many jobs a guy can get around there," he said "I wanted to join the military, and I got out of my town I got the best of both worlds"

Sgt Jared Golde,Fehl's recruiter, said stories like Fehl's are common

"When you are in a small town, like up in Porter, there really are no active-duty installations around," he said "So the National Guard is kind of the primary military that is visible Then you get families like Mike's They have multiple generations of active service and they want their son to be part of that family history"

The Active First program, Sgt Golde said, has helped him as a recruiter because it allows him to offer something other services cannot

"Some of the active-duty service commitment the program offers -- 30 or 36 months, for instance -- are less than what the active duty side can offer," he said "They can serve for only two and half years and then get to come back home -- that's usually not an option for most branches And not only do they get exceptional training as a result of their service, but they also receive a large bonus"

The Active First program is available to service-eligible men and women in all 54 states and territories All Soldiers who enlisted under the Active First program may choose, at the end of their active-duty service commitment, to re-enlist in the active component or to continue service in the National Guard The Army estimates about 30 percent of Soldiers enlisted under the program will choose to remain on active duty Soldiers enlisting in the program may choose from more than 50 different military occupational specialties, ranging from infantrymen to administrative positions

In January 2007, President George W Bush approved Army plans to increase its end strength by more than 74,000 Soldiers The Army initially planned to spread that increase out over five years and to meet it's goal by 2012 In October, the Army announced it had changed the target date to 2010 The Army plans to meet that goal with increased retention efforts and recruitment programs such as Active First

By C Todd Lopez
Army News Service
Article source: http://www.army.mil/news/



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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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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."



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