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Minnesota National Guard
Disabled Soldier inspires wounded Minn. Soldiers

He lives in Texas but retired SFC Dana Bowman was in Minnesota on Sunday to motivate troops who were injured while serving His message carries to everyone: 'disabilities are only the things you think you can't do' A terrible accident left Bowman severely injured but not about to give up On Sunday, through the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, he is encouraging wounded Minnesota Soldiers to push forward

"With my family, friends and modern technology, I stand tall and proud," Bowman told the group of Soldiers

As a member of the US Army Golden Knights elite skydiving team, Bowman did all the tricks, including the demanding diamond track He and his partner would crisscross paths, leaving a trail of smoke that formed a diamond

They'd done it 50 times before, but during a practice in 1994, it didn't go as planned Their combined speed was 300 miles per hour when they hit His friend's arm severed Bowman's legs Bowman's friend died

"Self pity, bitterness, depression, I wasn't about that," said Bowman "I wanted to come back"

Since that jump, he has skydived 1,000 more times He bikes, water skis and became a helicopter pilot

"A little fight, a little teamwork, little coaching, you can accomplish anything," Bowman said

SFC Craig France needed surgery on his right knee and both shoulders after picking up heavy equipment in Kosovo He can no longer run the way he used to and worries he can't serve his country physically as well as he has for decades

"The first time I met him I just had to hug him because he's got that inspiration," France said about Bowman

"For him to be hurt and not being able to do the things he enjoys doing or does it anyway because he knows he's going to hurt, it's frustrating to him," said Tammy France, Craig's wife

Tammy says the entire family has adapted, not only to Craig's injuries but also to the psychological ups and downs cause by war

"It's work, it's work every day," she said

That's why they come to 'Beyond the Yellow Ribbon' events

Congress just approved $2 million to help fund Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program It provides counseling and support to help Soldiers and their families readjust to life after war In just the last two months, the Army reported 42 suicides, which is almost half of what was reported all of last year

Elena Kibasova, 5 Eyewitness News
March 16, 2009

Read more and see video at: KSTPcom
March 11, 2009: "Group working to make Washington County first ‘Yellow Ribbon’ county," Lake Elmo Leader

Go to the Minnesota National Guard's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon page for more information about the Minnesota National Guard's award-winning Servicemember reintegration program.

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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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