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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 Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



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