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Minnesota National Guard
Liberian left for Iraq an immigrant returns a U.S. citizen

Pfc Moses Nyumah was sent to Iraq last year as an immigrant Soldier He returned Thursday as an American

It was a homecoming the Liberia native wasn't expecting when he left

The 28-year-old Brooklyn Park man joined the Minnesota National Guard more than two years ago to serve his adopted country He was rewarded with his citizenship during a naturalization ceremony four months ago while serving in Iraq

"It made me feel more free," Nyumah said

As an immigrant, his new citizenship makes him feel more integrated into American culture, he added

Nyumah, who returned with the other 22 members of the Roseville-based 247th Finance Detachment, is one of thousands of immigrant Soldiers who fight for the United States Many are being rewarded with an expedited citizenship Another member of the Roseville unit, Spc James Idoko also will get a chance to speed up his citizenship process

Serving in the military has become a way for immigrants to speed up their citizenship application after the Immigration and Nationality Act was backed by President Bush in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks

Marilu Cabrera, spokeswoman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said it is supposed to take six to eight months for a regular civilian to navigate the naturalization process

"For the military, we expedite those cases," she said

More than 150 other immigrant armed forces members took part in the Veteran's Day ceremony Nyumah did

Nearly 37,000 military personnel have been naturalized since Sept 11, according to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Cabrera wasn't sure how many of those were Minnesotans

Nyumah said the expedited citizenship wasn't his motive for enlisting

Louise Tamba, Nyumah's mother, fled to the United States from war-torn Liberia 13 years ago with her children and family A personal banking officer for Bremer Bank now settled in Brooklyn Park with her family, Tamba is still trying to become a naturalized citizen

Tamba admits she didn't take it well when Nyumah told her he was enlisting in the military

"I left because of the war," Tamba said "When he told me he wanted to join the Army, it was tough It was hard to let go"

But none of that mattered Thursday Her son was home safely and, in a sense, a new man

"I'm so happy," she said

Now, Nyumah will readjust to life as a civilian - and as a full-fledged American

Already he is planning to return to college He hopes his citizenship will help him provide better for his family

Meanwhile, fellow Soldier Idoko must wait for his citizenship

A special naturalization ceremony for him was planned for Thursday, but it was postponed until after Idoko returns from a trip to his native Nigeria to visit his wife and newborn daughter

Had he gone through the ceremony, he would have lost his green card without enough time to obtain a passport for international travel

"I want to see my family," he said

While his family won't return with him, he hopes to bring them to the US soon

Idoko, 29, came to the US alone in 2000 He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, in 2005 and has been working as a corrections officer for the Minnesota Department of Corrections

He joined the military in March 2006

"I wanted to contribute," he said

Idoko, too, said the citizenship process was not a factor in deciding to enlist

"Regardless, it was something I was going to get," he said "This is a good country People have struggled to make it better and will continue to fight to make it better"

By Elizabeth Mohr
Pioneer Press
Article source: http://www.twincities.com/ci_8484059

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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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