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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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Minnesota National Guard to highlight diversity and leadership development at Women's Leadership Forum

Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.- Nearly 650 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to attend the Minnesota National Guard's third annual Women's Leadership Forum at the 3M Corporate Headquarters Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

"The Minnesota National Guard continues to diversify our force and grow strong leaders," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard. "Strong leaders are able to self-manage and channel emotions to produce desired behaviors and results."

The forum is part of an overall effort to promote an inclusive culture, diversify the organization, grow strong leaders and provide professional leadership development for both women and men. The topics will focus on emotional intelligence, leadership, high performing teams and creating a championship culture.

Minnesota Guardsmen tasked for support to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Posted: 2017-09-11  02:20 PM
September 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. Six Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard also departed this morning to support relief efforts.

"I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide assistance in Hurricane Irma response and relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I encourage all Minnesotans who are able to contribute to qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma in any way we are able."

The 41 Airmen come from the 133rd Airlift Wing based in St. Paul and have a variety of skillsets. Fourteen of the Airmen are with the unit's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and specially trained in emergency medical evacuations. They are currently on standby at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois where they will support potential missions in the Caribbean or Southern United States. The remaining personnel comprised of Airlift Control Flight, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces, arrived today at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will assist in recovery operations. The Airmen can support airports with skills and equipment to re-establish operations after disasters, secure aircraft and load and unload equipment.

Minnesota National Guard to send aviation assets to support Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 2017-09-01  10:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The soldiers will depart today from St. Cloud via CH-47 chinook helicopters to conduct aviation operations in Texas.

"I am glad that Minnesota will be able to assist the victims of the terrible tragedy in Texas, with 11 Minnesota National Guard soldiers accompanying two Chinook helicopters to join in relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota soldiers, who will travel to Texas to provide this critical relief. I encourage all Minnesotans, who are able, to donate to the qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist in any way we can."

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is an Army National Guard unit that supports disaster response operations by providing aviation capabilities - both UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

'Highly Effective:' 148th Fighter Wing Excels

Posted: 2017-08-24  07:36 AM
148th FW DULUTH, Minn. - For four days in early August, a team of inspectors from the Air Combat Command's Inspector General team (ACC/IG) inspected, evaluated, verified and validated the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing (148FW) in Duluth.

The results were impressive.

From Thursday, Aug. 3rd to Monday, Aug. 7th, during the course of the 148FW's August Drill Weekend, nearly 50 inspectors flew up to northern Minnesota to take a closer look at the 148FW during a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI).

Their white IG badges conspicuously dangling around their necks, the inspectors spoke at length with the 148FW Airmen, asking them about their training plans, and their file plans, their checklists and their ability to accomplish their given mission. Documents were reviewed, reports were validated and equipment was inventoried. The inspection was as thorough as it was exhaustive.

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