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Minnesota National Guard
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 25 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 172% of the Minnesota Air Guard and 151% 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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Helpful Links

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS)

Federally Employed Women

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

Women's Leadership Training Forum, April 2005.pdf

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Red Bulls train for readiness and resiliency

Posted: 2015-11-30  03:05 PM
CRTC CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division conducted maneuver training on Camp Ripley Nov. 21-22, 2015.

"It was a good weekend for our annual weapons qualification, we got a lot of tasks taken care of," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Lanoux with D Co. 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.

The training is in preparation for the upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., next summer. Fort Irwin is one of several premier training sites for the joint and combined arms training opportunities focused on tough and realistic scenarios units may face in a full spectrum operation.

Woman's Veterans Initiative Shows Major Muscle with Habitat for Humanity Build

Posted: 2015-11-25  09:37 AM
WVI H4H ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.

"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."

The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.

Empowering Girls and Influencing the Next Generation

Posted: 2015-11-17  10:51 AM
Girls Rising ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Air National Guard and the Soroptimist International of the Twin Cities partnered together to present the documentary film 'Girl Rising' at the 133rd Airlift Wing on Saturday, Nov 7 2015.

The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.

"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.

Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing has new leader

Posted: 2015-11-16  07:47 AM
148FW CoC Clint Austin DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.

The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.

During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.

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