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Minnesota National Guard
Soldiers Use Skills Learned at Home

The situation in Iraq is not easily defined Some classify it as a conflict Others scream war Many troops here see it as a routine; a part of what they call life for a brief moment Throughout history, many things have changed in our military Within these changes some things carry on Pride for ones country, family and community have been with troops for as long as we can research
Service for one's country may be as big a sacrifice as any

Few objects can change a war, but culture and terrain are two of the most important factors in which troops struggle to obtain victory The United States Military is one of the most adaptable military organizations in the world US troops from all generations relied on our mobility capabilities for the many great battles of history The terrain here in Iraq is a desert Temperatures reach well over the 140-degree mark, which not only challenges a troop's physical and mental toughness, but also takes a major toll on the equipment Fortunately, the US military produces more vehicles than you can imagine with the necessary versatility required

Missions in Iraq present a broad spectrum of demands for vehicles These vehicles were made to engage in the roughest conditions and perform at high levels, keeping our troops above our adversaries Here in Iraq, many of these "all terrain" vehicles are found running highway routes at highway speeds The maintenance platoon of Company G, 134th Brigade Support Battalion (134 BSB), attached to the 1st Battalion 125th Field Artillery (1-125 FA) is well prepared for this needed change This equipment requires extra attention and maintenance to keep the pace here in Iraq The maintenance platoon of the 125th here at Corps Support Command (CSC) Scania is known to be exceptional in this field
One advantage that sets the National Guard apart from the Army is that many of the mechanics in the guard are also mechanics in the civilian world This brings an enormous amount of knowledge within the group Schooling is provided with the intention of getting all mechanics the mechanical knowledge, similar to teaching every Soldier to be effective with each weapon

These troops dedicate themselves to performing at maximum effectiveness, knowing that another project waits Many times, the mechanic is forced to work at a difficult pace in all conditions to get this equipment ready for upcoming missions Along with break down maintenance, these mechanics also need to stay on top of annual service, update the equipment and add extra materials, providing the operators with added protection and performance

3rd Platoon, Company G, 134th Brigade Support Battalion not only excels in vehicle maintenance but also "add on" maintenance, with its air conditioning and welding program Air conditioning in Iraq is vital in all vehicles, due to the enormous amount of personnel protective gear each Soldier is required to wear During extreme heat, air conditioning keeps the inside vehicle at a bearable temperature This provides all the Soldiers with the means to accomplish the mission at maximum performance Each vehicle must have this equipment operational before every mission These a/c mechanics prove to be a necessity working all hours during the summer season Welders in the 1-125 also took on a vital role in improving the equipment and also increasing the armor that keeps our Soldiers safe

These few troops have had the chance to really show what they have to offer

Maintenance runs 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week With every Soldier fighting the everyday battles, these mechanics fight beside them, keeping all equipment at a high-operational level In today's battles, a Soldier's vehicle is as much of importance as their weapon

Here are some of the mechanics working in Company G, from Sleepy Eye Minnesota:
Sgt Zach Hammerschmidt, son of Mark and Cheri Hammerschmidt of Sleepy Eye has worked as a military mechanic for 6 years and knows what it takes to perform at the level needed to accomplish the mission Hammerschmidt from Headquarters, 1-125 originally enlisted as a Bradley fighting vehicle track mechanic As the 125th and the entire 34th infantry division reorganized for the deployment he compared his skills to a field artillery mechanic and has been filling that role

Spc James Allison spent 3 years in the Regular Army as a light-wheeled mechanic and now retains his maintenance abilities as a mechanic in the Minnesota National Guard Allison, son of Keith and Tamara Allison, knows the common problems and difficulties mechanics see and uses his prior learning to uphold the military standard

Spc David Karow works in Company G as both a Bradley mechanic and also an all-wheeled mechanic Karow takes his knowledge in diesel mechanics to a higher level Karow often works as a diesel mechanic here at Scania and is a diesel mechanic in the civilian world Karow is one mechanic that provides CSC Scania with a level of knowledge that helps set the 1-125 apart from the rest

Spc Matt Helget, son of Harlen and Nita Helget of Darfur, and Spc Matt Uecker, son of Kathy Uecker of Lafayette and Howie Uecker of Gaylord, know, all too well, what it takes to reform from artillerymen to wheeled mechanics Uecker, formally of Service Battery 125th, recalls has extremely difficult duties Uecker is a nightshift mechanic Many times working with little light, Uecker controls the overflow of maintenance and also works with many troops, giving a quick repair to convoys just passing by Helget, an 8-year mechanic in the military, is well known as one of the best in the 1-125 Helget is known to work above and beyond to deliver outstanding performance

Spc Jeremy Reinarts of Sleepy Eye knows what it really means to change in the military Reinarts enlisted as an artillery turret mechanic After spending 6 weeks of school in Camp Shelby for light wheeled maintenance, Reinarts now is one of Company G's full-time welders This was an easy change for Reinarts, a five year welder of Mathiowetz Construction Company in Sleepy Eye Reinarts is the son of Kevin Reinarts and Joan Stanfford

Spc Wayne Christensen, son of Dan and Deb Christensen, uses his military occupation as a welder and has now taken on the role of night shift mechanic Christensen has a difficult job, working all hours of the night on many different projects at once So many times, a challenge arises during his shift that needs to be accomplished within a few hours

The mechanics of the 1-125 continue to perform at the highest level of excellence, using their Minnesota ingenuity and dedication

By Spc Jeremy Reinarts

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Forging a path to career success

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."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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