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Minnesota National Guard
Veterans Reintegration Seminar

The Veterans Reintegration Seminar was held at the International Chef's Culinary Center in Burnsville, Minn on Jan 30th

The City of Burnsville, Senator John Doll, the Minnesota National Guard Reintegration Team and Dakota Country Veterans Services held the seminar to educate business owners, employers, religious affiliates, education representatives and community service personnel on the past, current and future needs of Minnesota National Guardsman returning from combat

"It is not just those who have been away who are affected, but it is their friends, families, their employers and churches," remarked Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz "They need us to help and given them support and be their safety net"

"Citizen to warrior is a long process," said Chaplin Joel Severson He explained to his breakout group at the seminar about the six month training period that the citizen Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team went through before deploying to Iraq "Transitioning from warrior to citizens is also a long process," remarked Severson

Col Kevin Gerdes, the Minnesota National Guard Personnel Director, spoke about his personal reintegration process and problems he faced when he returned from Iraq

"The job which I would get up at 6am for and stay as late as I could without getting into trouble, didn't excite me anymore"¦I had to force myself to get out of bed," Col Gerdes explained to listeners at the seminar

Col Gerdes also discussed that five months after returning, his wife finally approached him and explained that he was not the same person that left and they needed to seek help

When active duty military members come back from deployments, they have a network of counselors, doctors and employers that understand their needs are readily available on their base The Guard has members that come back and live in counties throughout the state and the upper Midwest and may not have the appropriate sources available in their town

The Mayor of Burnsville and spouse of a Vietnam War Veteran understands the importance of holding an event that focuses on educating the members of the community about the importance of working with National Guard members coming back from deployment in a warzone "It doesn't matter if you have three or 30 military members coming back from war, it's the right thing to do," said Mayor Kautz

Participants of the seminar ranged from business owners to community service members and found the information given throughout the night beneficial

"All over the metro area we are dealing with returning veterans more and more," said Brian Bye, a police officer from Burnsville "They are having trouble dealing with family members, alcohol or other issues"

"It was a lot of information that I didn't know about especially through the county," said Bye "Like the Veterans Link (VETLINKS), it is more specialized than just us referring them to counseling, they have the background that a veterans would need"

"Military members need to know that their community can be used a resource if they want help," said Mayor Kautz

Breakout sessions that participants could choose from included: employers perspective, families perspective, military kids perspective, clergy perspective and community services St Cloud is expected to hold a similar event in March For more information about the Minnesota National Guard visit http://www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org
Photo Gallery: Jan. 30, Veterans Reintegration Seminar

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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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