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Minnesota National Guard
Mentor team deploys with Croatians to Afghanistan

"Sir, my Soldiers are ready to mobilize," reported Maj Shannon Mortenson, commander of the fourth Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, Minnesota Adjutant General, then ordered Mortenson and his men to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

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The Minnesota National Guard announced today that 12 Soldiers, led by Mortenson, would deploy to Afghanistan as part of the fourth Operational Mentoring Liaison Team, a special partnership with the Croatian Armed Forces which began in January 2009 with the deployment of the first advisor team

This is the fourth time the Minnesota National Guard will be joining with the Croatian Armed Forces as an extension of the State Partnership Program by developing and fielding a combined Operational Mentoring Liaison Team

The Soldiers will serve alongside their Croatian partners in Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) OMLT IV will coach, teach, and mentor an Afghan National Army battalion, in operational planning and mission execution, in order to increase the overall capabilities of the Afghan Security Forces

Speaking at the ceremony was Governor Tim Pawlenty, First Lady Mary Pawlenty, Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Adjutant General Larry Shellito They spoke of honor and pride, but also reminded Soldiers and their families that they are not alone

First Lady Mary Pawlenty, creator of the Military Family Care Initiative, spoke for Minnesotans stating, "We want you to know that we care and Minnesota cares deeply"

You can learn more about the Military Family Care Initiative at wwwBeyondTheYellowRibbonorg

The Soldiers are expected to relieve the third Operational Mentoring Liaison Team in the northern half of Afghanistan sometime in January, after a brief train up period in the US and Croatia, and are scheduled to be gone for no more than a year

The Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams aid the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in their mission of assisting the Government of Afghanistan in establishing and maintaining a safe and secure environment ISAF's key military tasks include: assisting the Afghan government in extending its authority across the country, conducting stability and security operations in co-ordination with the Afghan national security forces, mentoring and supporting the Afghanistan National Army and supporting Afghan government programs to disarm illegally armed groups

Story and photos by Sgt Dajon Schafer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
21 Oct, 2010

 

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