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Minnesota National Guard
148th Fighter Wing announced awards

The Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth announced the following awards

Master Sergeant Christian Beckstrom, an Aircraft Armament Specialist, was named the 2011 148th Fighter Wing Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (Sr NCO) of the Year for his accomplishments in 2010 During this period, Beckstrom continued to excel as an armament specialist, served as a mentor for junior airman, and volunteered his time by marching in two parades and participating in the 148th Adopt-a-Highway Program Beckstrom is a 20-year veteran and had deployed 13 times worldwide; three deployments were to Balad Air Base, Iraq Beckstrom graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in business management and works as a project officer for an electrical engineering company in Plymouth, Minn

Master Sgt Mark W Watczak, an assistant fire chief with the 148th Fire Department, was presented with the Chief Albert Fitzpatrick Award for his accomplishments during 2009 This award is given by the Air National Guard Fire Chief’s Association
During this period, Watczak, a 20-year veteran with the Minnesota Air National Guard, served as the 148th Fire Department fitness monitor, assistant chief of operation for the 2009 Air Combat Command Operational Readiness Inspection and served as a full-time firefighter for the city of Richfield, Minn He was recognized by the city of Richfield for his bravery in saving the life of a woman trapped in a burning vehicle He also serves as the city of Richfield’s key child safety seat technician and teaches numerous CPR/AED certification classes throughout the year In addition, he piloted a fitness awareness program called Walking Wednesdays at his daughter’s elementary school

Technical Sergeant Frank Bucar, a supply management specialist, was selected as the 148th Fighter Wing 2011 Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year for his accomplishments in 2010 During this period, Bucar processed nearly 11,000 receipts of incoming Air Force property, represented the 148th Fighter Wing at multiple parades and served on the Wing’s recognition committee In addition to his military accomplishments, Bucar performs with Change of Pace Productions and with the Singing Slovenes Bucar of Duluth works full time with the 148th Fighter Wing

Senior Airman Andrew Ames, an aerospace medical services journeyman, was named 2011 Airman of the Year for his accomplishments in 2010 During this period, Ames balanced college classes, work and volunteering, all while supporting his duties with the 148th Fighter Wing As a medical services journeyman, he administers immunizations, checks vital signs and assists military personnel preparing to deploy Ames served as a member of the Bulldog Enlisted Council, where he helped new members prepare for the intense physical and academic challenges of basic military training Ames of Duluth is a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in exercise science He also works as a phlebotomist at Essentia Health St Mary’s Medical Center

Master Sergeant Jeremiah Graves was named First Sergeant of the Year for his accomplishments in 2010 During this period, Graves deployed to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, as a civil engineer responsible for runway and ramp maintenance at a high volume military airfield Graves is responsible for the morale, welfare and conduct of all the enlisted members in his area and is the chief adviser to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force Graves also completed the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy Course during this time Graves of Duluth works full time for the Duluth Police Department

Master Sergeant William Hawley was selected as the 2010 Air National Guard Security Forces Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Hawley is a member of the 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron He was also selected as the 2010 148th Fighter Wing and Minnesota Air National Guard’s Senior NCO of the Year for accomplishments in 2009 Hawley is a police officer for the city of Ely In the past year, more than 80 hours were devoted as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) instructor, along with many hours spent assisting his local VFW Post In addition, he has completed the Grandma’s Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon twice, and completed two triathlons this year


Master Sergeant Jeremy Hill was selected as the 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron First Sergeant Hill joined the 148th Fighter Wing in 1999 after serving with the Marine Corps As a member of the 148th, Hill has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle He lives in Duluth and is employed as a full-time jet engine mechanic at the 148th Fighter Wing

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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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