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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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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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