/*********************************************** * 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
Kriesel now gets to serve his heroes

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2012 - 9:49 PM

Anoka County's new director of Veterans Services knows what it's like to be a veteran in need

The rumors spread quickly in Baghdad Sgt John Kriesel had been hit, his military buddy Neil Doyle kept hearing And hit badly

Had Kriesel lost a leg? Two legs? Was the Minnesota National Guard member even alive?

"Two weeks later, when John was able to take calls at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center], I called him," Doyle recalled recently"But it was hard, when John was hit, not being able to leave Baghdad for Fallujah, where John's unit was

"When your boys are getting hit, you want nothing more than to go over there, to help them"

Kriesel -- who lost both legs and had his pelvis, left arm and right wrist shattered when several hundred pounds of explosives blew his Humvee off a dirt road in Iraq in December of 2006 -- is now in a position to be the one to help fellow veterans On May 1, he was named director of Anoka County's Veterans Services office

Doyle, supervisor of the Veterans Services office in Olmsted County, has known Kriesel for 10 years and served with him in Kosovo in 2004 Kriesel, a Minnesota House member who announced in March that he won't seek reelection, says it was Doyle who suggested that he apply for the Anoka County job

"John's tough, he's funny and he's got common sense," Doyle said of Kriesel

"He's also a combat-tested veteran who, as an amputee, knows about monthly compensation benefits and the channels veterans go through Having lived through what John's lived through gives you the kind of expertise that you don't find in a manual"

He's worn many helmets

Kriesel won the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star in the service, and he's won the hearts and admiration of much of Minnesota since returning from the war

He's been a devoted family man, radio personality and author He's done marketing for the Minnesota National Guard He says he's "just a regular guy"

As a state representative, Kriesel, a Republican from Cottage Grove, has been the co-author of a Vikings stadium bill and has advocated for gay rights

Now, he will advocate for fellow veterans

"I want to cut through the red tape," he said "There are a lot of benefits out there that those veterans have earned But you really need an advocate, a liaison to get through it all

"I want to be that advocate and I want to be a strong advocate These are my brothers and sisters that I'm fighting for now"

Kriesel will succeed Allison Lister, who held the job less than two years before announcing her resignation in January Before Lister, Duane Krueger held the job for nearly three decades Lister and Krueger both have been very popular with veterans because neither turned veterans away -- and that includes veterans from other counties Kriesel wants to continue that open-door policy

"I wouldn't turn anybody away," he said "I've been through this, trust me

"For a veteran to ask for help is so hard," Kriesel said on the day he was appointed by the Anoka County Board "You're wired from the time you join the military to suck it up, deal with it and drive on But veterans are vulnerable"

Leaving the House

Kriesel, who was elected to his first term at the Capitol in 2010, said he was not aware of the Anoka County job when he considered resigning from the Legislature It was a family decision His sons are 11 and 10

"My family is ecstatic," he said of wife Katie and sons Broden and Elijah "They're ready for me to be done The kids kept asking, 'Dad, can we go outside and play catch?' Now we will"

Kriesel said he can't worry about what he might have accomplished in St Paul when there's so much to be done in Anoka County

"I'm aware that people are aware of my story, but I'm not a celebrity," he said "I just want them to trust me

"So many people helped my family and helped me I'm doing great I have a lot to offer I want to give back"

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419
Article source

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