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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard Battles Pagami Creek Wildfire

At the direction of Gov Mark Dayton, four Minnesota National Guard UH-60 "Black Hawk" helicopters, along with Army and Air National Guard Aviation support teams, began assisting the ongoing firefighting efforts Sep 13 within the Pagami Creek region of north eastern Minnesota

According to the U S Forest Service, the more than 100,000 acre wildfire has been burning since Aug 18 in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, along with several smaller fires to the east and north in Canada

The fire started when a lightning strike ignited the blaze While the fire burned in a relatively small area during the first few weeks, high winds and low humidity spread it over 80,000 acres in a single day



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Smoke plumes from the massive fire traveled as far as Chicago, nearly 500 miles away Campers evacuated from the area reported seeing 200 foot-high tornados of flame engulfing trees within seconds

The four Black Hawk helicopters, equipped with 660 gallon 'Bambi Buckets', have dropped more than 400,000 gallons of water on the blaze

"Our crew members are training every year with other agencies around the state, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, for this type of mission," said Army Captain Jon Andrews, officer-in-charge of the helicopter detachment "It's great that, even with more than 3,000 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen deployed around the world right now, we are still able to support the citizens of Minnesota in this mission"

Unpredictable weather conditions in the area have helped and hindered the firefighting efforts High turbulence over the wildfire repelled the pilots on the first day Hail and sleet also grounded crews for several hours on the second day, but also brought the fire to a smoldering standstill

After assisting with the firefighting mission, the helicopters and crews returned to their home stations today

"As we know, we can always count on the Minnesota National Guard to answer in crisis, the needs of their fellow citizens, and they've done so once again, heroically," said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton



By Staff Sgt Ben Houtkooper

Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs




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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
133 AW FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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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