| Local Troops Return Home (video)
Austin, MN - Emotions are running high as families gather to welcome home dozens of local soldiers
After being deployed in Iraq and Kuwait since last August, Southern Minnesota National Guard soldiers returned to Austin Tuesday afternoon
It's a moment Hunter and Pheniox Schloegel have been looking forward to for nearly a year: The day they'll be reunited with their dad, Sgt Jason Schloegel, who has been overseas for his second deployment
"They miss dad really a lot and can't wait for him to get home," said Sgt Schloegel's mom, Diane
And that moment is finally here
"It's nice to be home again I'm excited to see my little boys and finally be a part of their lives again," said Sgt Schloegel
Through tears and kisses, dozens of families welcomed their loved ones back with open arms While most are reuniting after a year apart, some are meeting for the very first time
"Amazing She's so precious," said 1st Lt Dustin McCormick
1st Lt McCormick has never seen his newborn baby girl in person before Tuesday She was born just two weeks ago
"I got to watch her on Skype online, but that was nothing compared to meeting her in person for the first time," said Lt McCormick
As the commotion started to die down, the Schloegels got ready to head home for a little family time
"I'm not sure what we're going to do Just get dad and go home and relax and visit Spend time, let the boys spend time with dad," said Diane
That sounded good to Sgt Schloegel, who is looking forward to a little rest
"Spend time with the boys, watch movies, relax," he said
The troops spent about a week in Mississippi for demobilization activities before they returned home
The welcome home ceremony was organized by Austin's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group They say celebrations like this one are essential as the troops return home
But it's not just a few people behind it This event was a community wide effort
Students from Southland Schools and Southgate Elementary made posters and banners Local color guard units were also on hand
One area veteran said it's important that the soldiers know they're appreciated
"It's just such a great feeling to have people that love and want you to come home, and greet you and tell you you've done a good job, because they have done an excellent job," said Norm Hecimovich
Many of the soldiers that returned on Tuesday were part of Operation New Dawn, which helped withdraw US military forces from Iraq
Reported by: Raquel Hellman
Published: 5/01 9:30 pm
Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM
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
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
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
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."