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History
Minnesota National Guard
I'm officially an American

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Spc Yaroslav Sergei Dmytrochenko joined the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Ukrainian citizen, proudly serving as an American Soldier While deployed to Kuwait he was able to officially earn his US citizenship and participate in a Naturalization Ceremony held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on March 24, 2012 He left Minnesota as a Ukrainian and will return home as an American

Dmytrochenko started his military career in 2008 just like every other Soldier, by taking an oath pledging to defend the Constitution of the United States What makes his story different and unique is that when he took that oath, he was not an American citizen, he was a Ukrainian citizen


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Dmytrochenko was born in Kherson, Ukraine in 1989 In 2003 he and his family moved to St Cloud, Minn When he arrived in St Cloud, he didn't speak any English, but he attended school and worked hard to learn English by the end of his freshman year of high school Right after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard, as a tank mechanic, and was assigned to the Sauk Centre, Minn, based Charlie Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division "I was always thinking of joining In Ukraine [all males] have to"

Along his journey to citizenship he's had great support and interest from his fellow Soldiers, saying "A lot of people didn't know a non-citizen can serve in the military It's been a good thing that I had an opportunity to serve" In 2011 he deployed to Kuwait as a Ukrainian citizen wearing an American flag patch on his shoulder as an American Soldier, in support of Operation New Dawn, the final phase of post-combat operations in Iraq

While in Kuwait, he learned about an opportunity to submit his paperwork to finally earn his citizenship, something his mother and sister had already been able to complete The long road to becoming an American citizen was finally completed on March 24, 2012 He stood with 14 other Service members in the Camp Arifjan Chapel as Ambassador Matthew H Tueller, US ambassador to Kuwait and Maj Gen Gary Cheek, deputy commanding general-Kuwait of Third Army/US Army Central observed the Oath of Naturalization

After the oath was completed, all 15 Service members stood shoulder to shoulder and proudly recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as American citizens before watching a special video greeting from President Barack Obama

"It was nice that the Army could help me with this" he said "It feels good to be an official citizen" Now that he is an American citizen, he is able to get a US passport so he can travel back to Ukraine to visit family he hasn't seen in eight years The ability to see family members again means a great deal to him and something he is anxiously looking forward to

After he got back to Camp Virginia he was greeted by a lot of his fellow Soldiers who were quick to greet him and congratulate him Dmytrochenko said he shared his pride right away on Facebook, posting the message, "I'm officially an American" and got more responses than he's ever had on Facebook He said the outpouring of support, respect and excitement for him has been amazing "It was nicer than I was expecting It was an honor; it felt good to finally be over with"

March 24, 2012
1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division
Story by Capt Michael Lovas




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Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota

Posted: 2017-04-28  12:38 PM
NGAMN conference MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.

The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.

The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.



Camp Ripley earns top environmental award

Posted: 2017-04-26  02:09 PM
Mississippi River CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.

The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.

"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.



Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding

Posted: 2017-04-26  10:57 AM
Neely COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.

"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."

Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.



Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council

Posted: 2017-04-24  10:43 AM
Holocaust Museum Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.

"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."



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