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History
Minnesota National Guard
Service members, Vets raise US Flag at Twins games

FOX Sports North Honors Target Field Flag-Raisers
Sgt Maj Michael Sand
In the military rank hierarchy, there goes a certain rule of thumb: officers plan, and enlisted Soldiers do There are many important exceptions, but because of the general state of things, there is one requirement that lower enlisted Soldiers ask of their enlisted leaders: take care of Soldiers

Sgt Maj Michael Sand is an enlisted leader who has been taking care of Soldiers his whole life During the first Gulf War, Sand helped the families of Soldiers deployed overseas Ten years later, he would reprise his role for the families of Soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan These were mobilizations, not deployments, so Sand was placed in the somewhat strange situation of helping Soldiers from halfway across the world

"You're still busy, you're wearing the uniform, but you're supporting the families," Sand said "You're not worried about going over the wire You're worried about taking care of families and making sure that the Soldiers who's deployed can focus on their jobs and not worry about their families back here"

Even when it became Sand's turn to deploy, the mission to take care of Soldiers remained
 
"It doesn't stop, even though we have a mission," Sand said "We might have to deliver supplies, we might have to produce some awards, or we might have to buy stuff They still have to be taken care of, professionally and with administrative work They still need to be paid properly Their families still need to be well taken care of"

Sand was charged with providing Soldiers with what they need to do their job, whether that meant fuel or awards "I worked with a lot of the Soldiers and I made sure that they had the things that they needed to be successful so they can concentrate on their mission"

After coming home from Iraq, the challenge was taking care of a Soldier very important to him: himself Deployments are hard on both a Soldier and his family, and after coming home, Sand said he had to take steps to reintegrate himself back into the lives of his wife and daughter "Early on, they had specific schedules they had to do, and I had to integrate into that schedule," Sand said "The challenging part between us was figuring out where I could help in that schedule and figuring out where that schedule didn't include me"
It has been a busy three months since coming back for Sand and his family They have taken trips to Arizona and Florida, and Sand has been busy fixing up the homestead, getting back to doing some of those household chores, and returning to work for the National Guard

Another priority, Sand said, is his daughter, Tessa, and her softball
 
"I try to be more involved in her stuff," Sand said "My wife travels, so I've got to be home I'm just trying to juggle all that stuff"

Sand was recently the honorary flag raiser before a Twins home game at Target Field For Sand, its was a chance to take in a baseball game with Tammi and Tessa, his favorite troops

"Whenever I can get those two involved in what I do, it allows that ability for us to connect," Sand said "This is about them as much as it is about me"

sandmichael_g2_053010jpg
1 So I was with you on deployment " you remember that sergeant major? What was that experience like?
Quite different I enjoyed all kinds of the heat Being able to survive that 110 degrees and sometimes 90 percent humidity was kinda challenging Being able to travel across the country and being able to go up to Baghdad and Balad and meeting some of the other Soldiers and watching out plans turn out was exciting

2 Was it your first deployment?
That was my first deployment 1991, when we went into the Gulf, I was a member of division headquarters at the time, and I volunteered to help their families back home And when we went back in 2001, then it was, my focus changed again, it went from supporting our Soldiers during drill to supporting Soldiers and families again when they deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan

3 And those were mobilizations, right? Not deployments
Yes From the home-stand, it's a little different You're still busy, you're wearing the uniform, but you're supporting the families You're not worried about going over the wire You're worried about taking care of families and making sure that the Soldiers who's deployed can focus on their jobs and not worry about their families back here

4 Is there any parallels between taking care of Soldiers back home and taking care of Soldiers while deployed?
Absolutely It doesn't stop, even though we have a mission We might have to deliver supplies, we might have to produce some awards, or we might have to buy stuff They still have to be taken care of, professionally and with administrative work They still need to be paid properly Their families still need to be well taken care of Coordinating with their rear detachment So the job that I had, mainly, was I worked with a lot of the Soldiers and I made sure that they had the things that they needed to be successful so they can concentrate on their mission

5 How does the weather compare between Iraq and here?
Well, a couple of days ago, it was like 95 degrees and about 80% humidity, so it brought back some memories real quick about Iraq in August But the humidity we can experience here in Minnesota can some days be the same, but mix that with the heat, of 120 degrees sustained temperature for four months, it's totally different

6 So you'd take Minnesota's weather?
Absolutely In a heartbeat This is perfect We can wear this uniform in 90 degrees and 80 percent humidity with no problem

7 And watch baseball outside!
And watch baseball outside [Laughs]

8 Who's here right now?
My wife, myself and my daughter are here now And her friend

9 So is it fun to bring you family to events like this?
Oh, absolutely Whenever I can get those two involved in what I do, it allows that ability for us to connect This is about them as much as it is about me

Posted: May 30, 2010, 8:10 pm CT
By Jay Lawrence
Special to foxsportsnorthcom



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Article source, with video
http://www.foxsportsnorth.com/pages/flag_raisers



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