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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 Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



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.



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