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Minnesota National Guard
Opinion: National Guard sympathies are crowding out others

  • Article by: NATHAN MOLDENHAUER
  • Updated: May 21, 2012 - 8:42 PM

Counterpoint

It has been more than a year now that I have been out of active Army service I served for five years and traveled to much of the world, including Iraq

When I came back, I was just like any other veteran coming home -- jobless and with little support to keep me going I found a decent job for a security company, and mostly now I work weekends only so that I can continue going to school full time

I recently began buying the Star Tribune every Sunday I find it informative and well-written The stories are mostly without political bias and cover a broad news spectrum I have to admit that Sundays are the only days I have time to read the paper

I have noticed a few major articles that involved military veterans, particularly members of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division

The first one I noticed ran in the Opinion Exchange section on March 22 under the headline "Red Bulls for hire" It was about employers traveling to Kuwait to assist National Guard members in searching for jobs The article sparked my interest, but I put it down without concern since it was the first of its kind that I had seen

However, a second article ("Vet heard voices, sought help -- and was turned away," April 15) began to raise my awareness about the reporting on veterans What struck me was that the interviewed veteran was not an active-duty veteran but rather a National Guard member

Another article -- "Guard soldiers are losing time to Pentagon's broken promise" -- ran on April 22 It made a big story about Guard members losing their time off

That last article upset me because it was written as if losing days will really affect a member of the National Guard in the same way it would affect an active-duty member of the military

In the National Guard, you come home when you are done with your deployment, then you go to drill once a month In active service, whether in the Marines, Navy, Army or Air Force, you do not come home for at least another 30 days, and you still go right back to your duty station after your leave time

I spent the last five years away from home and would have given anything to spend more than two weeks at a time in Minnesota while I was stationed in both Germany and Fort Carson, Colo

The use of the National Guard to evoke emotions from Minnesotans would be one thing if the National Guard were the only military entity that existed, but it's not

I have known many friends from this great state who have served on active duty -- that is, have decided to leave home for a term of service to their country (not the state) for anywhere from three to five years

When we come home and see these things in the paper, it makes us feel like we are forgotten and do not matter

We may not stand out because we no longer wear a uniform around town That doesn't mean we do not exist

Perhaps the Star Tribune could find some active-duty veterans and ask their opinions and incorporate them in the paper

-----------
Nathan Moldenhauer lives in St Paul

Comments

one4themoney
May 21, 1211:22 PM
Nicely said Good thing to think about

jhb8426
May 22, 1212:13 AM
Unfortunately, active duty soldiers are under the radar due primarily to the numbers involved People have a daily connection with the Guard or their families, especially in smaller communities Having served my time in another time and place, I appreciate all who serve now - active or Guard

crestliner62
May 22, 12 6:31 AM
Well stated, having been a member of both active and reserve forces I have a view point from both sides I agree we must support ALL returning veterans, either active, guard or reserves members I do take issue with the undertone of some of the articles lately where the veterans are seen as kinda sad cases No veteran wants to be seen as a sad case, just given a fair shot, no more, no less These military members signed up of their own free will with the full understanding they may have to go in harms way, they get good pay and benefits and some have volunteered to be sent overseas since they cannot find a job in the civilian sector that pays the same wage So please stop with the "hero" or "victim" stereotyping These are proud men and women who just want to be given a fair shake

la55122
May 22, 12 7:31 AM
First of all, Thank you for your service I am a veteran of the Viet Nam era I enlisted "regular Army", no doubt aided by my draft board Once deployed, I saw only olive drab NG, draftee, enlistee were only categories on our DD214 records Yes, there were differences in length of service I gave three years, but received a year of technical training Finding a job in 1972 was tough, though not as bad as now One thing to remember, your National Guard is called up for natural disasters and other duties, while us ex active duty types carry on with our lives Good luck with your education and future endeavors

Blaine99
May 22, 12 8:14 AM
You are right that active duty soldiers that come home are really lost in the shuffle The Minnesota National Guard has developed a program called the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program Many communities around the state, including ours, are developing an action plan to make sure ALL Service members and their families are taking care of This includes everything from jobs, to health care, to education, to law enforcement, to social service The key is to try and find out who you are You local Veterans Service Officer is a key connection you should make

northhill
May 22, 12 8:18 AM
Viet-nam vets found this country in a recession in the 1970's when they left the militaryWe found an unsympathic media, US government,and most appalling of all; an unsympathic civil population When I watched my child get activated for Desert Storm;I hoped that how we were treated would not happen again When you send people off to war,they need the full support of our nationAmerica,rightly called upon the National Guard to serve,unlike Viet-namI expect that America should treat its active duty veterans and those called to active duty in the National Guard the same,FAIR The American people and its elected representatives must demand itVeterans of World WarII,Korea and Viet-nam still need Veterans benefits too including fully funded VA medical care Paying for these benefits means so much more than flag waving and rhetoric

sausage
May 22, 12 8:42 AM
There have been many attempts to segment the uniformed personnel The words "pre-911" and "post-911" Words such as "combat" versus "Non Combat" Guard and reserve versus regular army Older vets and younger vets And the supreme attempt is to call the present day military "warriors" rather than soldiers A veteran is a veteran

mn2nice
May 22, 12 8:44 AM
As a vet from a previous era (pre-Viet Nam), I want to say to all military members, past and present, regardless of affiliation, Guard, Active Duty or Reserve, thank you for your service to our country, and if you are just coming home, welcome home You most definitely deserve a fair chance at re-integrating and obtaining employment We all should remember that Thank you
Article source and comments
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/152364945.html



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