| Military family prepares for husband's deployment
by Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
April 15, 2011
Anoka County, Minn -- How do you prepare for a year at war?
The Munoz family is struggling with that question Staff officer Freddy Munoz will soon deploy to Kuwait as part of the drawdown of US troops from Iraq, along with about 2,400 other Minnesota National Guard soldiers
The deployment comes at a tricky time: Freddy and his wife Jennifer, who live in a northern suburb of the Twin Cities, are in the process of trying to adopt two children The situation is adding more uncertainty to an already stressful deployment
With Freddy's deployment just weeks away, Jenny Munoz, 29, is already resigned to what is coming Soon, life will take on a familiar rhythm -- long days of work and responsibilities at home; late night phone calls and emails; and constant worry
She approaches this deployment with the stoicism of an experienced military wife
"I don't think it's really set in with me yet," said Jenny Munoz "It's nice to have him home but it's making it more difficult to adjust to it, if that makes sense"
Unlike many of the National Guard soldiers deploying in May, Freddy Munoz, 31, is already partially deployed
That's because it's his job to ship everything for his battalion, the Brainerd-based 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor
So Munoz, who is also a police officer, is already living apart from his wife during the week and coming home on weekends
After training in the US in May, he'll join the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, in Kuwait The Red Bulls will be stationed in Kuwait, providing security and running convoys into and out of Iraq
This will be Munoz's second time in Iraq He served there during the surge on an extended deployment
"From Dec 1, 2005 through July 17, 2007," he said, "and I saw my wife a total of one month"
Being apart for that long wasn't easy for the couple, and Jenny says things got even worse when Freddy finally got home
"It was a long time for us to figure out how to live together again, and get used to each other and compromise," she said
Adjustment problems are common among service members returning from combat deployment For most soldiers, the problems are short term But they're still tough on relationships
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about parenting issues when he comes back"
- Jenny Munoz
The Minnesota National Guard does not keep statistics on divorce rates, but according to the Pentagon, the divorce rate among military members overall has risen since 2001
The divorce rate in the armed forces was about 36 percent in 2009, up from 26 percent in 2001 In the 2009 fiscal year, there were an estimated 27,312 divorces among the nearly 765,000 married members of the active-duty Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, according to figures provided by the Pentagon
The military has ramped up programs designed to address the disruptions and stress that multiple deployments can cause for families and children
The Munozes are taking advantage of similar programs before Freddy's deployment On a recent Friday evening, they packed up their suitcases for a weekend marriage retreat for military families in outstate Minnesota
"I don't mind packing for a weekend," said Jenny "I get tired of packing to move"
Since marrying in 2003, the Munozes have moved at least eight times, not including deployments
With their suitcases packed and ready to be loaded in the car, Freddy says the marriage retreat was his idea He wants to prevent the kinds of issues they had when he got home from his last deployment -- when he had trouble compromising with his wife
"My perspective was more or less, this is how it's going to get done, that's it We are going to do this at this time and that's it," said Freddy Munoz "It was really hurting our relationship"
The one thing they can't control is the timing of their pending adoption They were hoping it would be finalized before Freddy's unit deployed, but now it looks as though it won't go through until Freddy is already in the Middle East
If that happens, Jenny will have to shepherd their new children into the family all alone
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about parenting issues when he comes back," Jenny said "It's going to be a long time by ourselves, and so I'm worried"
As daunting as that prospect is, Jenny is matter-of-fact It's just one more challenge she'll be forced to face while her husband is away at war
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."