| Generations in uniform in 'Memorial Day'
Multiple members of one family are changed by war in a drama shot in Minnesota
- Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
- Updated: May 24, 2012 - 2:41 PM
"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
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."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.