| The Minnesota National Guard Celebrates Women's History Month
The Minnesota National Guard honors its women in uniform as part of Women's History Month. Women in the Minnesota National Guard have contributed greatly to the success of missions over the years. From the beginning of women's entry into the military, through the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1941, to the full integration of women into the National Guard, women have continually met and exceeded standards and helped shape the mold of modern-day Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen. Many women worked through stereotypes in everything from training to uniforms to operations, and paved the way for the current role of women in the Guard.
Through the years, women continually made the same sacrifices that men made. They made these sacrifices not only with aspirations of earning an equal status with men, but more importantly, with the goal of completing all missions with a standard of excellence. Today, women's roles are still being reviewed and expanded. Changes are continuing to occur for women in the military and they will continue to make huge strides towards equality on the home front and in combat.
In total, more than 2.5 million women have served in defense of our nation since its beginning over 230 years ago. Presently, women continue to be a vital component in the military. With 1,971 in the Minnesota National Guard, women account for 17.2% of the Minnesota Air Guard and 15.1% of the Minnesota Army Guard. The Minnesota National Guard recognizes Women's History Month in recognition for the more than 405,600 Active Duty, Guard and Reserve women who serve today around the globe--professional, capable women leaders--who are making a difference for themselves, their communities, the nation and the world.
Women in Combat Units
The Department of Defense announced several policy changes in 2013 regarding women who serve in the military, including rescinding the Ground Combat Exclusion Rule which prevented women from being assigned to combat units below the brigade level. The Minnesota National Guard's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team volunteered to be one of the test brigades to incorporate women into positions within units at the headquarters level of combat arms battalions that were previously unavailable to them.
This process does not involve opening prohibited specialties up to women, but rather enabling women to serve in jobs that are already available to both genders in units that once did not allow females. This effort is part of a larger, phased implementation plan to remove gender-based barriers to service in all of the armed forces.
At the direction of the National Guard Bureau, mid-grade females in the officer and enlisted ranks were considered first to begin the transition. Prior to implementation, the Minnesota National Guard asked for volunteers to consider either moving into positions that were already vacant or exchanging positions where the move benefited Soldiers of each gender. Future vacancies will be filled through the Enlisted Promotion System, allowing the best-qualified individual - male or female - to be considered for the position.
The units involved in this process received specific training prior to personnel assignments taking place. The training addressed equal opportunity, sexual harassment and sexual assault response and prevention to prepare for the transition.
Nationally, formerly male-only specialties in combat engineering will be available for women in summer 2014; and field artillery, armor and infantry jobs are expected to be open to females in summer 2015. Full gender-neutral availability is anticipated by 2016.
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Guard wives bond remains as strong as ever
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Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS)
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National Women's History Project
U.S. Department of Labor: Women's Bureau
U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Women in the Federal Government
Women's Military Service Memorial
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Willmar National Guard Unit Set To Deploy
Posted: 2015-10-05 11:04 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015
More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.
"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.
Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse
Posted: 2015-10-05 09:26 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.
The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.
Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.
Last 133rd Airlift Wing Vietnam-Era Veteran Retires
Posted: 2015-09-30 01:56 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.
An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.
"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"
Camp Ripley RTS-M offers technical, hands-on training for Soldiers
Posted: 2015-09-28 03:07 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Each year hundreds of Soldiers from across the country travel to Camp Ripley Training Center to attend one of 31 courses offered by the 175th Regional Training Institute.
"The courses offered here on Camp Ripley qualify Soldiers as infantrymen, cavalry scouts, health care specialists, as well as wheeled vehicle mechanics and tracked vehicle repair technicians," said a spokesman for the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau.
The Camp Ripley-based 175th Regiment Regional Training Institute, RTI, provides combat arms, Military Occupational Specialty and leadership training to prepare Soldiers and units for deployment at maximum combat readiness levels. One such training program is the Regional Training Site - Maintenance or RTS-M.