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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 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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