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Minnesota National Guard
Your turn: Cities can go beyond yellow ribbons

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Communities are a partnership and collaboration between cities, communities and the armed services members who live in and around them It is a collaborative, grass-roots effort between concerned patriotic citizens and their military members/citizen Soldiers

In 2008, a local Warrior to Citizen group came together to engage community members in support of service members and their community To date, more than 300 community members representing 40 organizations and many individuals, have worked together to meet this goal As part of the effort, the Warrior to Citizen group worked to get nine area communities to pledge to complete the work to become Yellow Ribbon Communities Each is working to meet the requirements of the Minnesota National Guard

Why are BYRCs important? In cities that have a large active-duty presence due, many of the quality of life issues (Soldier care, counseling, health services, etc) are provided by a fort or base In states like Minnesota - where we have no fort or base and we have an estimated 100,000 military members and families - these services fall upon the community to provide

Why is this important to the military community?

Recruiting: When cities recognize and honor their veterans, it sends a message to the entire community that service in the armed forces is a desirable, honorable and a worthwhile career path This will lead to more young people joining, especially those who have been turned off by corporate greed, corruption and carelessness

Limited resources and increased need: In peace time, there will be a cry in Congress to cut the defense budget This will equate to less money for quality of life issues for Soldiers

Meanwhile, the needs of our Soldiers coming out of the most active war period since Vietnam will have a far-reaching effect Soldiers are dealing with combat stress, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, adjustment reactions, employment, divorce and depression

The inevitable decreased funding for these issues coupled with an increased need for these programs creates a perfect storm that has the potential to damage the Army's prestige, and standing in the eyes of the public

Why are BYRCs important to communities?

First, communities that offer a support network to military members will attract service members who have demonstrated through their war time service that they are dedicated, patriotic and hard working In short they'll make excellent contributing members to that city or region

Second, it upholds a social contract within our society that says, if you serve our country - we'll make sure you are treated with honor and respect when your service is complete

How do you build a BYRC? It must be a reverse pyramid style of management The key to success here is to seize upon initiatives, encourage their development, and provide guidance and support when and where available

It is a skill set of leading from behind and learning to cooperate and negotiate with governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations to accomplish the end-state

It is a skill Soldiers use while deployed and conducting capacity building through joint civilian and military operations

It is also a transferable skill set to working with our cities and communities Once a city has become a BYRC, those involved need to seize upon that success, publicize it, build momentum from it and use the synergy created to encourage the next city to do the same

Once we do that we will have a string of Yellow Ribbon Communities stretching from Duluth to St Cloud, and St Cloud to Albert Lea

This is the opinion of Capt John G Donovan, a St Joseph resident serving in Basra, Iraq

Article source: http://www.sctimes.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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