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Minnesota National Guard
Mental Wellness a top priority for Minnesota Guard's Aviation Brigade

"Life is full of kinks," explained Chaplain (1st Lt) Daryl Thul "And when you have kinks it's hard to keep going on"

Soldiers with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade attended classes during annual training focused on stress management and how to utilize the tools of the military

As a pro-active approach, Thul created a course on how to understand stress called "A Framework for Understanding Basic Soldier Care"

"We shifted away from an "˜anti-suicide' to a more proactive "˜mental wellness' model a year ago and I think it is paying off in helping our Soldiers get help earlier," said Thul

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"Everyone, Soldier or not, has issues," said Thul "Anything our Soldiers are dealing with affects their service so we don't just care about them two days per month or only while deployed"

The Minnesota Army National Guard has coordinated services through many agencies to help leaders take care of Soldiers

"It is a priority, we treat all indications of possible suicide or personal harm with the highest priority," said Lt. Col. Shawn Manke, 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion commander "We are training Soldier to know where to get help and how to get help as well as leaders on how to offer assistance"

The thrust of the training involved helping Soldiers indentify what emotional states of being mean and at what levels of stress their problems need to be communicated Thul gave personal examples of how his stress affected his military career when he was an enlisted Soldier In the example, he explained how bad life decisions had led to adverse affects on what he was doing and how it led to his leaving the service

Soldiers were asked to share their personal stories of emotional times with others in the class This gave them a chance to relate to each other how they deal with their emotions

The class ended with a live demonstration, using a scene from the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in which King Arthur confronts the Black Knight and must duel him to pass The skit was used to illustrate the concept of stress management

While the US Army has recently begun implementing resiliency training as mandatory requirement, Thul's class gives a more personalized approach to dealing with balancing the life of the Citizen-Soldier

By Sgt Nicholas Olson
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
27 June, 2011





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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



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Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
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The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



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