| Pentagon has committed to paying bonuses to 2,500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers
The Pentagon has committed to paying bonuses to 2,500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers who are still owed them after a long deployment to Iraq several years ago
Military officials told members of Minnesota's congressional delegation Monday that the Pentagon has closed a loophole that hung up payments of about $10 million in the bonuses to soldiers in Minnesota's "Red Bull" 34 Infantry Brigade Those soldiers began a 22-month deployment in 2005 that kept them in Iraq for 16 months, the longest deployment of any infantry unit since World War II
"We're glad this is done, but I certainly hope there's no one pounding their chest over it," said US Rep Tim Walz, a Democrat from Minnesota who was one of several members of Congress to get involved in the issue "It should have been done a long time ago"
The Pentagon acted Friday to close the loophole, which came about because the military didn't announce bonuses for extra-long deployments until January 2007 That left it unclear whether the bonuses were intended to be retroactive
Though the military now says it is, several members of Congress from Minnesota said they're still waiting to hear when the checks will actually be cut
"Today's news is an indicator that the bureaucracy is moving, but the congressman looks forward to getting a definitive answer on when the Red Bulls are finally going to receive their long overdue bonus pay," said Troy Young, spokesman for US Rep John Kline, R-Minn Young said Kline hoped to get the answer Wednesday from Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Walz said he expected the checks would go out "within the month"
In all, about 22,000 National Guard members nationwide may be eligible for the bonus pay, according to the office of US Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn That will mean about $59 million in bonuses to guard members, with the $10 million chunk to Minnesota's Red Bulls the largest
Capt John Hobot, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, issued a statement Monday night saying the Guard is "very pleased" and will work to "promptly action the payments our Soldiers deserve"
Klobuchar, who also worked on the issue, said it should be "as soon as possible"
"A lot of these soldiers have been waiting and waiting," Klobuchar said "But this is a sign of good will"
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Article source: TwinCities.com â€¢ Pioneer Press
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.