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Minnesota National Guard
Generations in uniform in 'Memorial Day'

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2012 - 2:41 PM

Multiple members of one family are changed by war in a drama shot in Minnesota

"Memorial Day," the Minnesota-shot independent film, has picked up a number of festival awards, including the audience award for best narrative feature at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival and best narrative feature at the GI Film Festival in Washington, DC

A family saga as much as a war story, it chronicles a generations-spanning Minnesota military family whose servicemen harbor life-changing combat experiences they can't easily talk about

The story unwinds from the recent past in Iraq, to an idyllic heartland farm in the 1990s, to the bloody Battle of the Bulge The film offers James Cromwell, the veteran character actor who played kindly farmer Hoggett in "Babe" and the silent star's loyal chauffeur in "The Artist," the biggest role of his long career He plays Richard Vogel, a taciturn farmer who has a troubled inner life that belies his Norman Rockwell appearance

For decades he has packed away his painful World War II memories in a dusty footlocker Only when his coaxing grandson Kyle insists does the old veteran share his long-repressed memories Cromwell's lookalike son, John, plays Vogel as a worried young lieutenant on the front lines

A parallel story follows the now-grown Kyle (Jonathan Bennett, who played Lindsay Lohan's boyfriend in "Mean Girls") Staff Sgt Vogel applies his grandfather's lessons as he faces similar challenges in Iraq as a member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division, the Red Bulls

The $12 million production is historically accurate and impressive The state National Guard provided modern helicopters, Humvees and extras, and collectors of vintage combat vehicles contributed German army halftracks, vintage jeeps and P-38 fighter aircraft

The film is as plain-spoken and sincere as a recruiting poster, with similar dramatic depth Director Sam Fischer handles the film's action demands capably and guided the mostly nonprofessional cast to solid performances The strongest contribution comes from Cromwell, who nails a demanding part, finding a core of realism and truth in a role that could have been maudlin
Article source
http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/153658975.html



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Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



CERFP exercise tests Guardsmen, new evaluation team

Posted: 2017-06-08  01:42 PM
evaluators DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard members serving in a variety of roles tested their skills as evaluators and domestic response assets during a Combined Training Exercise simulating a chemical explosion in the harbors of Duluth from June 3 to June 9, 2017.

The exercise was the first time in nearly four years that the specialized 55th Civil Support Team - which would respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threat before any other Minnesota National Guard unit - worked in conjunction with the 84th Troop Command's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package. In practice, the CST would provide the initial response and hand the mission off to the CERFP, which is capable of mass decontamination and casualty support as well search and recovery expertise in the event of collapsed or damaged structures.

And as crews of CERFP Soldiers donned protective gear, established decontamination lanes and prepared for swells of simulated victims seeking medical attention, a few select Soldiers quietly observed it all.



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