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Minnesota National Guard
Yellow Ribbon and Beyond

It's hard to believe that I have been writing this column for two years now The first one I wrote was a Memorial Day tribute of sorts to my late father-in-law, Mr Warren I wrote about how, at that time, there was a lot of talk about soldiers sacrificing so much for the rest of us who seemed not to care or even be aware of how great their sacrifices are I don't dispute this, but the soldiers are not the only ones who sacrifice, so do their families That sacrifice is not always having to cope with the loss of a loved one in war It's having to continue to live life while they are away and also when the soldier returns sometimes "not as nature made them, but as war left them" to quote Bob Schieffer

I know someone who is doing something to help His name is Paul and he is the president of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Washington County (Minnesota) Network Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a federally funded program created by the Minnesota National Guard People living near or on military bases have relatively easy access to certain resources, those resources are harder to find where no base is present Beyond the Yellow Ribbon was created to organize community support so that all military families would have the support they need regardless of residence Originally focusing on returning veterans, it became clear to the organizers that support needed to start before deployment continue through the deployment as well as after It was also clear more than the spouse and children of a soldier's family need help, Extended family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings are also included as they are also affected when a family member is deployed (I think I have this right, I'm sure Paul will correct me if I don't) While started by the Minnesota National Guard, this program serves members of all branches of the military

Paul has been sharing stories with us at Toastmasters and at the after meeting coffee that some of us attend He talks about several women gathering for coffee to talk about BTYR One of the women who attended has a daughter that had just joined the Marines and who needed someone to talk to who would understand as well as information Also attending were two women who had sons who happened to be Marines and were able to provide her with the information she needed as well as the support of someone who understands

He also told of a woman whose husband was clearly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Where could she go to get help for him and herself? She went to her boss He went to his wife, who is involved with BTYR, who contacted the National Guard Help arrived soon after Things will get better

Counties, cities and businesses can gain Yellow Ribbon status by finding out what resources they have and organizing them into a network with input from the National Guard, law enforcement, veteran's organizations and other parties One very important thing is that the plan must be sustainable The need is going to be there for a long time and organizations desiring Yellow Ribbon status must understand that they are in for the long haul

I wish that something like this had existed when my father-in-law came back from Europe after World War II He had honor and respect from his family as the war hero he was, but was one of those who came back "not as nature made them, but as war left them" After the parades and such were over he was still a very troubled man whose wife left him with two young boys to care for He worked in the cotton mills and did his best He got some help from his mother who came to live with him for a short time It was a difficult life and a chaotic childhood for the two boys Maybe something like BTYR would have helped We'll never know and there's no time machine to go back and fix things

What can be done is to support all those who are in active duty now and their families We have your back and we thank you

( I want to thank Paul for giving me the information I needed to write this I took the stories off his blog, "Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Stories")

This column is dedicated to the memory of my father-in-law, Mr Warren You are loved You are missed
This is for all the veterans out there who fought and died, who fought and lived and to those who are still fighting

Posted by Sophie Story at 5:44 AM
Monday, May 31, 2010

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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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