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Minnesota National Guard
Young Vadnais Heights couples deaths called murder-suicide

Medical examiner's early report has gun in husband's hand


An undated photo from Facebook shows Katherine (Quam) Pohjonen, 19, and her husband, Kalen Pohjonen, 21 The deaths of the pair, whose bodies were found dead Tuesday in their Vadnais Heights condominium, were classified as a murder-suicide Kalen Pohjonen, a Minnesota National Guardsman, was to be deployed to Kuwait in May (Courtesy photo)

The deaths of a Vadnais Heights couple earlier this week have been classified as a murder-suicide, though authorities have not identified a motive

Katherine Marie Pohjonen, 19, was shot with a handgun by Kalen Ryan Pohjonen, 21, before he used the gun to kill himself, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Ramsey County medical examiner

Investigators were called to a condominium at 859 Woodgate Drive about 10 am Tuesday after a colleague of Katherine Pohjonen's reported that she had not shown up for work, according to Randy Gustafson, public information officer for the Ramsey County sheriff's office

Investigators looked in a window at the home and saw the couple dead inside

The handgun was found at the scene, according to the sheriff's office

How long the couple had been dead before their bodies were found was unclear Wednesday Gustafson said there was no clear indication of motive, such as a suicide note

The family of Katherine (Quam) Pohjonen released a statement about the deaths Wednesday to the Hudson (Wis) Star-Observer The family is from Hudson

"Kathy and Kalen were dearly loved by families and friends The family was close and always got together to celebrate holidays and birthdays We are touched and thankful for those who have reached out to us in this trying time Kathy and Kalen will be missed and forever in our hearts and thoughts"

Kalen Pohjonen's family could not be reached for comment Kalen was a member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls, according to National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson After enlisting in August 2007, he became a specialist in the St Paul-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment

Kalen Pohjonen had never been deployed but was due to ship out in May His unit will be stationed in Kuwait and operating in Kuwait and Iraq, Olson said

Katherine Pohjonen would have turned 20 today

Ryan Bynum, who lives two doors down from the couple's home, said he had plans to go out for his birthday Friday night with Kalen Pohjonen but decided to stay in because he was tired Bynum's wife heard Kalen Pohjonen knocking on their door about 3 am Saturday but didn't answer because it was so late That was the last Bynum heard or saw of his neighbor

By Sarah Horner and Tad Vezner
Pioneer Press

Updated: 01/26/2011 11:48:35 PM CST

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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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