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Minnesota National Guard
National Guard soldiers return to support network aimed at helping them find jobs

Rosemount, Minn — More than 500 National Guard soldiers woke up at home yesterday morning for the first time in more than a year In the next few months, they’ll reclaim their civilian lives

But for many, finding a job will be an important challenge National Guard officials say about 20 percent of the nearly 3,000 Red Bulls brigade soldiers returning home from Kuwait will not have a job waiting for them

Maj. Gen. David Elicerio, the commander of Minnesota’s 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division, knows that challenge Three years ago, he struggled to find civilian work after serving in Iraq

“I know well the frustrations that our soldiers have, coming back to Minnesota and trying to match the skill sets of a commander in Iraq in charge of 15,000 soldiers over nine provinces in Iraq to the job market in Minnesota,” Elicerio said

To speed the transition back to working life for returning soldiers, National Guard officials and Minnesota businesses are helping them maneuver through the employment process

In the coming months, the Guard will work with private employers and officials from the Department of Employment and Economic Development to host job fairs around the state and at regional workforce centers throughout the summer

Elicerio recently told a group of business representatives what happened when he returned from his last tour of duty overseas In 2009, he contacted 3M officials about job opportunities and received a less-than-enthusiastic reception

“Hey, I’m a chemical engineer with over 25 years’ experience in the health care industry and I know you’re big in health care products,” he recalled telling them “They said, ‘You’re right We’ve got an entry-level engineering job for you, part time, in our facility in Kansas City’ I said ‘Eh, that’s not going to work so well, either’”

Elicerio told the story at one of several events the Guard is hosting to connect businesses with unemployed soldiers returning from Kuwait this year

The Guard is teaching employers some Army basics — like the difference between a division and a squad and what job descriptions and ranks mean Elicerio said soldiers often overlook the importance of describing their military experience to civilians

The unemployment rate for Minnesota veterans is more than three times the state’s civilian unemployment rate of 57 percent Last month, representatives from several major companies, including Target, Best Buy and US Bank, helped soldiers spruce up their resumes and prepare for job interviews while they were still in Kuwait

Now other companies are targeting recruitment efforts on returning soldiers

Military experience is often lost in translation, said Ronda Wescott, president of public sector services for Travelers Insurance The St Paul-based company employs 1,200 veterans across the country

“In corporate America, we deal with job descriptions,” she said after speaking to attendees at the National Guard employers event “So if you had a job description in the military … it’s probably full of Army lingo Just take that job description and translate it into what it means generally, to a lay person, and that would work well”

Wescott said Travelers’ recruiters are learning to translate military experience into possible jobs at the company But she said soldiers need to do a better job being open with potential employers about what they did during their time in the military

“There’s been a hesitancy to talk too much about things that have happened in Iraq, for example, or wherever it is,” Wescott said “But I think there’s a way to do that without giving anything away”

The push to help returning soldiers has also made its way to the state Capitol Last month, Gov Mark Dayton signed a bill that allows employers to set a hiring preference for veterans

State Sen Ted Daley, R-Eagan, who sponsored his chamber’s bill, said employers have an opportunity to help veterans find jobs

“The great thing is, it’s not a mandate,” Daley said “It doesn’t force any company to do this It’s permissive language which allows them to do it and not to be worried or troubled by any lawsuits that they could face for preferring to hire veterans”
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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.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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