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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard team takes first at Army National Guard Honor Guard competition

The Oregon Honor Guard team was denied a third year run as champions by the Minnesota team at the Army National Guard's Honor Guard competition, which was held at Fort Meyer, Va last week

The team leader for Minnesota, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Williams stated, "Oregon has been a great team to chase this entire competition We got our standings every day, and we would find out we're in second and they're in first It came down to the wire and we pulled through It feels good"

The eight teams that competed were chosen from a group of 35 that submitted videos for a chance to compete at the national competition, where their knowledge and skills were tested The teams had to show their proficiency in everything from transferring of remains and rifle salutes to the appearance of their uniform which was inspected daily along with many other military honors tasks

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Members from the Army's top honor guard unit, the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) along with instructors from the National Guard Professional Education Center's Honor Guard program were the evaluators

The competition was full of challenges but according to Williams, "The toughest part of the competition was not knowing what lies ahead The schedule was set so that (all day) you'll be tested, but you don't know what you'll be tested on"

Although he admits that it was a tough competition, Williams never lost faith in his team

"I came here and I knew that I had the best team in the nation," Williams said "They may not have known it yet, but I knew it I've worked with them for the past year and I see the way they perform and the way they focus When we came here Sunday I knew they were the best I'm so glad they got recognized for what they've done"

The Minnesota Honor Guard team will take their big win and bring that pride and honor back to Minnesota where the importance of their role is never forgotten

"Every time I give that flag to a grieving (family member), I picture giving that flag to my mother or my wife," said Williams "Doing that, we cannot fail That's why we train, because we don't want to let the family down That's with me at every funeral"

This year's win, guarantees Minnesota an automatic slot in the competition next year and they are already preparing it

"We're going to start our training as soon as we get back from here," said Williams "I'm going to go back and every Soldier I train I'm going to train as if they are coming to this competition next year If they are on the team, they'll be prepared If they're not, then they will be able to carry the flag and the torch while we're gone"

Along with Williams, the team that participated at nationals included Staff Sgt Parker Bakke, Staff Sgt Charles Rosenfield, Sgt John Wadsworth, Sgt Burhan Kaasim, Spc Matthew Kornder, Spc Jason Mosher and Spc William Taylor

Sgt Dajon N Schafer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
17 September 2009

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