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Minnesota National Guard
Klobuchar continues push for 148th upgrade

In the works for three years, a plan to designate the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing as an “active association” wing got a push from US Sen Amy Klobuchar this week

Sen Amy Klobuchar (left) greets Tech Sgt Jill Haapala of Esko during a visit to the 148th Air National Guard base in Duluth on Friday (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnewscom)

She paid a visit to the 148th on Friday, meeting with base leaders, Duluth Mayor Don Ness and members of the community on the Military Affairs Committee She said the active-association designation would build on the 148th’s success last year in securing 18 new block 50 F-16s

“We hit a major stride last year with the new F-16s,” she said “Last year I said, ‘We start with those and move to F-35s and there’s no limit — the lunar module might be next’ ”

This week, Klobuchar said she sent a letter to Secretary of the US Air Force Michael B Donley urging approval of the status, which would assign active-duty Air Force personnel to Duluth’s Air National Guard base

The program would allow regular active-duty airmen to work side-by-side with National Guard airmen and learn from their experience and expertise The 148th would retain primary responsibility for the updated F-16 jets but would share them with one or more active-duty units

There are two active associate programs in the country, one in Vermont and the other in South Carolina, so there is precedence for it, said Col Frank Stokes, the 148th’s commander

“We’re modeling after the larger one in South Carolina,” he said

If approved by the Pentagon, the move would be expected to keep the base active and open well into the future

Benefits would include an influx of 60 active-duty Air Force personnel over time With a proposed initial wave of 40 personnel would come a $47 million boost to the local economy, according to David Ross, president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

The presence of the 148th accounts for more than $100 million in annual revenue in the Duluth area, Klobuchar said

For the Air Force, it would save money, providing 35 percent of Air Force capabilities for 6 percent of the budget, according to the 148th Allowing personnel to train at the wing’s state-of-the-art campus with reservists would improve mission readiness, Klobuchar said

In June, local, state and federal officials met in Washington to discuss a plan and Klobuchar said she would work with members of the military to continue pushing for the designation

“We hope to get a decision in the next year,” she said

“We’re ready right now,” Stokes added

Published August 06, 2011, 12:00 AM

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Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.

Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

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