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Minnesota National Guard
Charlie Med trains for Afghanistan at Ft Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas – In a country with few roads – and even fewer decent roads, plus a very real IED threat – ambulances rarely travel on the ground

In Afghanistan, when American and NATO military forces call for an ambulance, they look to the sky

In a matter of minutes, tiny black specks in the distance turn into full-size Black Hawk helicopters on the landing zone Immediately, skilled medics disembark They quickly evaluate the casualties, load them on the aircraft, and treat them during the flight to a medical facility

Speed is everything, said senior flight medic Sgt. 1st Class Robert Ford, an observer controller/trainer with the 166th Aviation Brigade

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“There are reports of Soldiers getting hit on the battlefield who are rolling into surgery 15 minutes later,” Ford said “The number of Soldiers dying (in combat) is down because they’re able to get to definitive care so quickly”

Ford and other 166th AV Bde Soldiers are currently training an Army National Guard air ambulance company at Fort Hood for the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan in June

Although Company C, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, is headquartered in Santa Fe, NM, sections of the unit also come from Arizona and Minnesota Many of the 100-plus pilots, crew chiefs, medics and support personnel never met before they arrived in Texas for training

“This is a crucial training phase,” said C/1-171 commander, Maj Christopher Holland, from Albuquerque, NM “We’ve never trained together, and we’re coming together for the first time We have to be prepared to fight together

“This is the last chance we’re going to get to hone our skills before deploying,” Holland added “Our mission’s real simple: save lives on the battlefield Pick up patients and get them to a medical facility as quickly as possible I don’t think there’s any mission on the battlefield that’s more important”

Many of the National Guard medics have similar civilian professions

Sgt Troy Hayes, from Arizona, is a police officer and flight medic for the Arizona State Police who last deployed in the early 1990s to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm He arrived at a Fort Hood landing zone during a May 16 training exercise expecting four patients, instead finding about 30

“It’s good to get training you’re not expecting,” Hayes said “It keeps you on your toes”

Staff Sgt Tym Larson, from Eloy, Ariz, has worked 25 years as a paramedic firefighter and flight medic
Afghanistan will be his first military deployment

As the lead medic on the ground during the May 16 mass casualty training exercise, Larson had to determine not only the number of casualties, but the categories of casualties Next, he had to ascertain how many aircraft and personnel were available to respond Finally, he had to find out what medical facilities could accept patients, and how many they could accept

“You can’t take all 30 people to one place; that would overwhelm them,” Larson explained “You can take two, maybe three or even four patients to one place You might not be able to take any to some facilities It just depends”

As if that were not enough jobs to juggle, medevac crews also have to secure the landing zone and protect themselves and their patients from hostile fire Generally, civilian emergency responders do not have people shooting at them at accident sites

“We have to get them to think tactically In a combat environment, you might be landing in an LZ that’s hot You want to make sure you have your weapon to protect yourself and your patient,” Ford said

The National Guard Soldiers will also have to get used to being surrounded by Marines and Sailors while they are deployed They will be in Afghanistan’s Regional Command Southwest, which is commanded by a Marine two-star general

“We’re the only Army aviation asset in RC Southwest,” said Capt Aaron Kinney, executive officer of Company C, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, which C/1-171 will replace in a few weeks “Marines have no organic medevac, so they need Army (medevac)”

The 166th AV Bde arranged for Kinney to come from Afghanistan and spend several days with the National Guard Soldiers while they are training at Fort Hood
Kinney is providing critical, real-time information on what the deploying Soldiers can expect for missions, enemy threats, living conditions and environment

Kinney is also teaching a crash course in Marine aviation lingo, which is “completely different” from the Army’s
“Instead of a convoy, it’s ‘holding hands’ It’s not a sister ship, it’s a ‘playmate,’” Kinney said

The opportunity to talk with Kinney is “priceless,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lonnie Colson, an instructor pilot from Santa Fe who joined the National Guard in 1977 and has deployed twice before

“He gets it He knows what we need He’s been in every one of the places we’re going to be,” Colson said “He’s read-in on everything that’s going on there He stacked the deck for us He wants us to succeed”

By Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen
Division West Public Affairs
20 May, 2011






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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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