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Minnesota National Guard
Mothers Day in Iraq; When Mommy wears combat boots

Mother's Day has a special poignancy for our women in uniform stationed overseas The holiday is both a celebration of the joys and duties of parenthood, and a reminder of the sacrifices made by our military families

Maj Shelley Hermes, Sgt. 1st Class Angela Amundson and Capt Dayna Joyner of the Minnesota National Guard, members of the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division, are spending this Mother's Day in Basra, Iraq

Maj Hermes is on her second deployment, the first being in Baghdad in 2004-05 She said that conditions in the country have improved since her first tour, and their current focus is establishing conditions for handing over the security mission to the Iraqi armed forces She has three children back in Minnesota: Andrew, 9; Nicholas, 6; and Carlie, 1 They stay in touch via e-mail and the occasional phone call, once a week or more if they can manage it Her husband Brian is holding down the fort at home "He actually has the harder job," Maj Hermes told The Washington Times "He has to do everything - wash the clothes, feed the kids, get them to bed and run his [construction] business" She added, "I'm very proud of him" Not coincidentally, the Friday before Mother's Day was declared Military Spouse Appreciation Day by President Reagan in 1984

Maj Hermes is working on a pilot project to connect Soldiers with their families back home Given the limited capacity of the post's single call center, she is helping set up a temporary station in their headquarters where 250 Soldiers will be able to make Mother's Day calls Once they have the system up and running, the unit will use it for other holidays

Sgt Amundson stays in touch with her two children, BriAnna, 7; and stepson Alex, 14, via a cell phone she bought in Iraq She has been in the National Guard for 20 years, but this is her first long-term overseas deployment Her husband Chris, a 1st sergeant in the Minnesota Guard, is taking care of the family while she is away Her Mother's Day plan is to "make sure to recognize every mother" in her unit on their special day There are around 200 women serving with Sgt Amundson, more than half of whom have children She told us that there is a regularly scheduled 10- to 20-mile road march today, known colloquially as a "Bataan Death March," which is made more difficult by the ever-present dust and over 100-degree heat That's a far cry from Sunday brunch or breakfast in bed

Capt Joyner has deployed three times to as many continents in her military career She has no children yet She recently married a fellow National Guardsman and deployed shortly afterward She said the Army works hard to help Soldiers celebrate holidays; they break the monotony of overseas duty and boost morale However, such festivities only go so far "They can give us presents and special meals and entertainers," she told us, "but no one, not even the Army, can replicate my mom"

On Mother's Day, Capt Joyner will reach out to her mother Diane and her grandmother Doris She said it was an opportunity "to salute the woman who gave me the strength to pursue my own dreams" Capt Joyner joined the military at her mother's suggestion, spending six years in the Navy and three in the Army "I still love it," she said "I couldn't thank her enough for giving me the courage, support, good humor and resilience necessary to be in the military My mom taught me that humor really is the best medicine It helps me a lot here My mother also taught me to make a difference in the world, even if it is one person at a time" She looks forward to starting a family when she returns, "to allow me to live my dreams and to help another young woman live hers"

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there

Article source: www.WashingtonTimes.com



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Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.



100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.



Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.



Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.



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