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Minnesota National Guard
2-135th Infantry returns from Kosovo

Friends and family lined the streets of several Minnesota towns July 10 to witness the return of Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 135th (2-135) Infantry from a year-long mobilization and deployment to Kosovo

The crowd mixed and resonated as anxious wives, excited children, relieved mothers, proud grandparents, and supportive veterans stood under a blue summer sky to welcome their Soldiers back to Minnesota They huddled along the sidewalk and road as the familiar roar of sirens and motorcycles confirmed what months of anticipation had assured them would finally happen: Their Soldiers were home at last

These Soldiers were part of an important and extraordinary moment in world history, as they were responsible for keeping peace in Kosovo during the nation's declaration of independence from Serbia "We were considered honest brokers by the locals," said Lt. Col. Michael Funk, commander of the 2-135 in Kosovo "Both the two opposing sides turned to US Soldiers more than anyone else" While deployed, these Soldiers completed more than 12,000 security patrols, set up 1,500 vehicle control points, discovered five weapons caches, turned over 23 suspected rebels to the Kosovo Police Service, and provided medical treatment to more than 1,000 locals With this kind of progress, it comes as no surprise that the 2-135 gained immense respect and confidence from the people of Kosovo

Funk believes that part of this progress comes from the fact that citizen-Soldiers have one big advantage

"One of the best things about National Guard Soldiers is they have a lot of civilian professions they bring to the mix and they're used to dealing with people," said Funk

In fact, 130 of Funk's Soldiers had the experience of serving once before in Kosovo

"Task Force Bayonet actually returned to the same identical area that they operated in 2004, so we had a lot of prior relationships with people," Funk noted

As much as the Soldiers took pride in their accomplishments overseas, it was monumental to come home to those who had missed and loved them all along

"We had a tough mission and they had a tough situation back home, too," said Funk "I really want to say thank-you to the families and to the people of Minnesota You have all been great"

July 10, 2135 returns from Kosovo - Low-Res

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Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.

Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

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