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Minnesota National Guard
Duluth Air National Guard base may get $4.2 million for new maintenance hangar

Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing may receive money for a major construction project

The US House’s Armed Services and Military Construction bill includes $42 million to build a fuel systems maintenance hangar and shop at the air base, the office of Rep James Oberstar, D-Minn, said Thursday afternoon

Getting $42 million in upgrades could improve the odds for the long-term survival of the base The base’s future has been in doubt since it was announced that the F-16, its main aircraft, would be phased out in a decade or so

The Fighter Wing is pleased by the news of the possible funding, 148th spokeswoman Capt Audra Flanagan said

“This is a big deal for us It is definitely a step for our long-term viability, our long-term missions,” she said

Money for the new maintenance facilities could be appropriated next year, said John Schadl, Oberstar’s communications director The new facility would allow the wing to maintain its planes in full compliance with federal standards

In January, the Air Force released a long-term plan that considers Duluth and 40 other bases around the nation as potential homes for the F-35 Lightning II fighter Thirty-three of the bases, including Duluth, will be considered only for the F-35 The remaining bases will be considered for either the F-35 or the F-22 Raptor

Receiving F-35s could ensure that the 148th, which employs about 465 people full time and more than 1,000 total, would exist past 2040

Flanagan doesn’t know if securing the new hangar and shop would improve the unit’s chances of receiving F-35s

“But it can’t hurt at all — it’s great news,” she said “It puts us in the right direction in that we will have the state-of-the-art fuel facilities that other bases have Currently, the one we have does not meet all the goals for today’s fighter aircraft”

The 148th flies Block 25 F-16 fighters from the early 1980s, which are the oldest F-16s in the US Air Force arsenal Oberstar is working to help to secure for the 148th a newer model of F-16 to serve as a bridge to the Lightning

The Air Force is scheduled to begin operating its first F-35s in 2013 In January, an Air Force spokesman said he didn’t know how many bases will be selected to receive F-35s, or when they will be picked

Lockheed Martin is developing three models of the F-35, a supersonic, multi-role, stealth fighter designed to replace a number of existing aircraft models The F-35A, built for conventional takeoffs and landings, began flight tests in December 2006 The F-35B, capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, is scheduled to make its first flight by midyear And the F-35C, designed for carrier takeoffs and landings, is scheduled to make its first flight in 2009

Steve Kuchera Duluth News Tribune
Published Friday, May 09, 2008
Article source: www.duluthnewstribune.com

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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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