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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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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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