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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 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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