| Soldiers find Respite, Resources at Family Prep Academy
The Minnesota National Guard is taking no chances with the well-being of its Soldiers and families over long deployments With news that the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) will be leaving in May for another deployment overseas, the Guard is setting aside a day of training to bring Soldiers and their loved ones together for a day to relax and learn about what the Guard can offer during the separation
On Jan 22-23, the Guard hosted a Family Prep Academy, a training program within the nationally recognized Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign which is given credit for improving the quality of life for Soldiers and families throughout the deployment cycle
The Family Prep Academy is designed to provide support in the period before the deployment, said Staff Sgt Mark Jancze, the Operations NCO for the Deployment Cycle Support Team based in Cottage Grove
“It puts reality to the fact that their husband or wife is leaving, on their way out the door,” said Jancze
When the 1st BCT mobilized for Iraq in 2005, there was very little structure in place to support the families of Soldiers for what would be almost 22 months away from home Minnesota National Guard leadership knew this had to change
The Family Prep Academy is a “really good idea,” said 1st Lt Seth Miletich, an officer with C Troop of 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry Unit commanders put out information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon events as often as possible, said Miletich, who attended the event with his wife Bethany
“It’s something we push a lot—you better be telling your loved ones about this,” he said
Miletich recently attended a six-month captain’s course which he also feels has prepared him, his wife Bethany, and their two young daughters for what lies ahead Even though childcare is provided at Yellow Ribbon events, the couple left their two young daughters with a sitter so that they could focus better on what the program had to offer
Sgt Mike Ramponi and his wife Jennifer brought their young children to the event with them Mike admits that the first unit deployment – which stretched almost two years – really took its toll on his wife Jennifer and their daughter Sage and son Lucca But with resources offered from the Family Prep Academy, the couple feels better about this upcoming deployment
They are getting information to us, said Jennifer, “where before, we didn’t have any information at all”
The Minnesota National Guard, in partnership with the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, is also rolling out a survey called RINGS – Readiness and Resilience in National Guard Soldiers – which will collect information on the needs of military families, the challenges of Soldiers before, during and after deployments, and how to enhance resources for Soldiers and families For more information, visit wwwBeyondTheYellowRibbonorg
By 1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM
MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."