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Minnesota National Guard
Iraq-bound Soldiers honor Japanese-American WWII veterans

By Marc Ramirez
Seattle Times staff reporter

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division honors the aging members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Japanese-American unit attached to the 34th during World War II The 442nd became one of the most decorated in US military history even though the families of many of its Soldiers had been sent to internment camps

In an International District meeting room, walkers and crutches rested next to tables topped with sandwiches and cookies

There, in the offices of Seattle's Nisei Veterans Committee, aging Japanese-American members of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team broke bread on Friday with far younger counterparts - national guardsmen bound for Iraq

Though separated by generations, they are united in history

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th "Red Bull" Division paid tribute to the 442nd, the mostly Japanese-American unit that had served under the division's command during some of the toughest fighting in World War II

"It's a real honor," said Tosh Okamoto, 83 "Even after 60 years, they still recognize the association between our two units"

The division, with about 1,000 Minnesota-based Soldiers, just finished two months of training at Fort Lewis before deploying for Iraq, starting next week

Commemorative coins were presented A proclamation from Minnesota Gov Tim Pawlenty was read, declaring April 10 as Nisei Veterans Committee Day A documentary was shown, detailing the history and impact of the 442nd and its 100th "Nisei" Battalion

"We just felt we had to be here for these guys," said commanding officer Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, among the brass attending the ceremony

It has been more than 60 years since the Soldiers of the 442nd earned distinction as the most decorated unit in US military history, given its size and length of service The feat - including 21 Medals of Honor - is all the more notable considering the circumstances: After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of their families had been herded into detention camps

The so-called "Go For Broke" unit suffered 600-plus casualties, with more than 9,400 wounded As President Clinton said at a June 2000 event for Asian-American Medal of Honor recipients: "Rarely has a nation been so well-served by people it has so ill-treated"

After the war, many Nisei found they were unwelcome in veterans groups such as Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Undaunted, they helped form Nisei Veterans Committee, which made Friday's lunchtime brotherhood all the more special

The meeting had come about by chance: Vietnam veteran Ted Yorita, a former Marine, had been at Fort Lewis for a gathering of color guards when he took a break at the local burger joint A few tables away, something familiar caught his eye

It was a patch he knew well, on the shoulders of several lunching 34th Division Soldiers Yorita, a member of the Nisei Veterans Committee, had to ask: Had they heard of the 442nd?

Which, it turned out, was like asking if these guys had heard of their own uncles

One phone call led to another, and on Friday, the Iraq-bound Soldiers honored men such as Kim Muromoto, who was there in April 1945 when the 442nd helped break the Germans' impenetrable "Gothic Line" high in the Italian mountains "The Allies couldn't penetrate the line," Muromoto said The breakthrough marked the end of the war in Europe

The unattached 442nd, which incorporated the famed but depleted 100th "Nisei" Battalion, had bounced around without a home for a bit before bonding with the 34th Division for good amid the final push of the war "We all had admiration for the 34th's bravery and courage," said Frank Nishimura, 85 "We had to live up to that standard"

The victory at Italy's Mount Folgorito was among several campaigns that distinguished the unit throughout 1944 to '45, including the fighting at Anzio Beach, the liberation of Jewish prisoners at Dachau and the legendary "Rescue of the Lost Battalion," an Army division trapped behind German enemy lines in France

For the older veterans, it was a chance to say thanks and to recall the bonds they still share with the 34th "It feels good that I can actually thank them myself," Nishimura said "It's a different generation But I'm confident they can live up to their predecessors"

Marc Ramirez: 206-464-8102 or mramirez@seattletimescom

Article source: www.SeattleTimes.NWSource.com

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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
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Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
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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.

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Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
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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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