/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Women Veterans Group Changes a Paradigm

The definition of a veteran is a person who has served in the armed forces, yet it has taken decades for women to be acknowledged in this category

Since more than twenty-six percent of veterans are women, the Women Veterans Initiative Working Group is on a mission to educate them of programs and services that are available to improve their lives and well-being

Download photos

"Historically, women veterans haven't always acknowledged themselves as veterans It started way back in World War II and earlier, when women were brought into service during time of war, but as soon as the war was over they were discharged," said Trista Matascastillo, Chair of the Women Veterans Initiative Working Group "It was like, we don't need you anymore, go home, go back to being a wife and a mother"

Although women have played a role in the military for centuries, it wasn't until the early 1970's that women were allowed to serve on active duty "The other thing that we get a lot is, "˜well, you don't look like a veteran'," said Matascastillo "If we go to the VA for services, instantly somebody says, "˜Oh, you must be here with your husband'"

The Women Veterans Initiative Working Group, which started meeting in February 2008, found that only 1,500 out of 23,000 women veterans were utilizing services provided by the VA In order to understand where the disconnect was, the group sent a survey out statewide to women veterans After the group received feedback from the women veterans, they sprung into action

"We are working with our legislators and elected officials to bring light to it," said Matascastillo "We are also working with the VA Hospital We started what we call the "Battle Buddy" program at the VA So if a woman veteran is setting up her first appointment or a follow-up appointment, she can call us - we have women veterans who are trained and will go to her appointments with her We will sit with her in the waiting room, and make sure she knows how to get from one place to another, and just to be there with her It's very helpful, especially if it's your first time"

The group also holds an open meeting where they can continue to hear from women veterans, educate them about programs that are available, and connect them with service providers

"Another thing we do, once a month, is hold what we call a "˜coffee talk' at a coffee shop, for women veterans to come and talk and share their stories," Matascastillo said "It's a resource to share the issues and make them aware of what's going on"

The monthly meetings are open and free to the public Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 3-5 pm at various locations For more information, please visit their website at: http://googl/TYWsB

26 August 2011
Story by Sgt Dajon N Schafer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."

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.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

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."

Article archive