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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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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.

In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.

Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.

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