/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
For this Minnesota family, love is a battlefield

Regina McCombs, Star Tribune
Maj Trish Baker of the Minnesota National Guard put on body armor while preparing to fly a Black Hawk helicopter Temporarily in Kuwait, she will soon be serving as a senior logistician for her brigade in Iraq

Last update: August 19, 2008 - 12:10 AM

It might not be unusual these days for a daughter to follow her dad into the family business But it is unusual when that means flying an Army Black Hawk helicopter into a war zone

That's what Maj Trish Baker is doing She is deploying on her second tour in Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, the command unit for 2,500 Soldiers who were deployed this month for a year's tour of duty

Baker has been a helicopter pilot in the army for 10 years Her father, First Sgt Norm Baker, a Vietnam veteran, will be in Iraq with her at an air base north of Baghdad He asked to be transferred to the unit to be with her

When he returns home, he will retire from a 20-year career in the military

For Trish Baker, flying helicopters is the culmination of a girlhood dream growing up in a military family

"I was one of those kids who knew exactly what they were going to do when they grew up," she said "I knew that I would be in the service It was helicopters and it was going to be the Army Guard"

Baker is one of 11 female pilots in the Minnesota Army National Guard On a recent training flight in Minnesota, she donned night vision goggles to practice tactical landings in the dark outside of Red Wing Peeling off her 40 pounds of gear afterward, she said she doesn't think of herself as a pioneer

"What I think about when others see me in an external fashion is that this is not aberrant This can be normal," she said "To be a helicopter pilot, an aviator, a National Guardsman This is normal and I don't want to be seen as the exception There are women ahead of me; I'm not breaking brush"

Fragile reminder

Baker's first deployment came in the rush to take Iraq in 2003

She piloted assault missions under fire and transported VIPs that included generals, sheiks and celebrities Robin Williams and Bruce Willis

The conditions were rough and the circumstances volatile On her desk at the Guard headquarters in St Paul are the worn and dusty boots from her first Iraq deployment and her old Nomex aviator gloves, now worn out There is a small tea cup on the stand, too She collects tea cups But it is also a reminder

"It's one of those things that reminds of the rigor that goes into the deployment and when you think things are awful they are not," she said "It helps me remind me how good I've got it sometimes This particular one helps remind me that success is fragile, it takes a lot to attain success and once you do, it's beautiful and exquisite, but it doesn't take much to shatter it and break it"

While deployed, she'll share an occasional breakfast with her father at the mess hall and perhaps a walk along the razor wire perimeter when they get a chance But both will be busy with their duties

This time Baker will spend less time in the air She is the senior logistician for the brigade, meaning she is responsible for coordinating everything from fuel supplies to uniforms to where Soldiers will sleep But there still will be time for flying

"There's a small amount of trepidation that goes with going back into a combat zone but much less than the first time," she said "This time I know exactly what to expect I can say, of the 359 days I spent on the first tour, that I could count on two hands how many times I was actually shot at and could count on two fingers the number of times I was probably in mortal danger So out of 359 days those are incredible odds"

Trust in Mom

That is small consolation to at least one member of Baker's military family, her 7-year-old son, Zach He was too young to remember her leaving the first time But this time he has worries Zach has a pretty good understanding of the concept of war, even though he said he thinks he missed half of it when it was on TV

"One country doesn't want another country to be there, they don't want the country to exist, so they bomb it," he said "It means you have to battle and some people die and that kind of stuff"

Baker keeps a picture of Zach in one of her pockets when she is flying, and talking about him is the only real time this Soldier's exterior seems like it might crack She flew him down to Fort Sill, Okla, with his grandmother when the unit had an official deployment ceremony She's now temporarily stationed in Kuwait

Zach will stay with his father during his mother's deployment The two are divorced but remain close He'll also have a host of grandparents and cousins to support him while his mom is gone

But Zach said one thing is almost always on his mind He says it will be one of the things he tells his mother when he sees her for the last time before she leaves for war

"It's all about trust It's always been my thing," he said, sounding older than his years "Trust in mom It means trust that she doesn't ," he paused "That nothing happens to her just say it that way"

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

Article source: www.startribune.com/

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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.

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."

Article archive