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Minnesota National Guard
Task Force Aviation: Flying High Over the Twin Cities

By Pvt Cassandra Monroe
135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Iowa National Guard


ST PAUL, Minn " Task Force Aviation, based at Holman Field near the St Paul Municipal Airport, stands ready for any rapid reaction air transport needs that may come their way during the Republican National Convention

Task Force Aviation, made up of Minnesota National Guard aviators and aircraft from surrounding states, is supporting local and federal law enforcement agencies by providing rapid, aviation-lift capability in the unlikely event a significant incident occurs  

These aviators have been preparing for this mission for months

"We put the plan together, and figured out what we could and could not support, helicopter wise," said Col Mike Huddleston, the state Army Aviation officer for the Minnesota National Guard "We've made sure we put the right crews with the right mix, as well as understanding what the other sister agencies are bringing forward for supporting the convention"

One big advantage these Minnesota National Guard aviators have is that they know this area very well, said Huddleston "We can fly just about anywhere, and get there quicker than anyone else, as well as get into the area fairly easily," he said

While speed is important, so is the unit's ability to move people and equipment  "We've got the capability to transport a good number of equipment and personnel," said Huddleston "A UH-60 Black Hawk can fit about 12 people, while a CH-47 Chinook can carry about 30 to 35 people"

Sgt Nathaniel Ernst is a crew chief whose duties include aircraft maintenance, preparing the aircraft for flight operations and controlling passengers on the aircraft during flights

"We're expected to respond between 15 to 30 minutes," said Ernst "We're here on 12-hours shifts, so anytime a call comes in, we'll be prepared"
           
Preparing for this mission was not without its challenges A big concern was getting enough aircraft and personnel ready to go for the mission, since some Minnesota aviation units are deployed or waiting for aircraft to return from deployments, said Ernst

"Our team borrowed aircraft from different states, such as North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan in order to prepare for the mission," he said
           
Although some Task Force Aviation members just returned from deployment, their transition has gone well, which helped them prepare for this mission


"We recently got back from Iraq about a month ago, and we were given the word back then to start making initial plans for that the convention," said Chief Warrant Officer Curtis Skoog, a standardization instructor pilot with the 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 147th Aviation

"It's great to be back The deployment went really well for the unit You want to get back with your families and reestablish relationships So coming back to work has been an easy transition We've been planning on this convention for a couple months," said Skoog

Overseas deployments have increased these aviators' skills and experience, and helped them prepare for this mission  "It's a breath of fresh air to give crews a left and right limit, and you know they're going to take that ball and run with the product you need, which is supporting the task force commander for anything he may need," said Huddleston, of some of the crew's recent deployments
           
"I think as a whole, were doing an outstanding job," said Huddleston "We're like the lifeguard, you never need them, but when you do, we're right here The crew has a small frame of time to get out and be there, ready to respond We're excited to support this event and we're just having a lot of fun"

September 2, Task Force Aviation: Flying High Over the Twin Cities - Low-Res




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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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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.



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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."



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