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Minnesota National Guard
Our view: D.C. delegation scores for Minnesota soldiers

Nearly 3,000 Minnesota “Red Bulls” — as the National Guard members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team are famously nicknamed — already were deployed, already were in Kuwait last fall, when the sucker-punch edict came down

The Defense Department decided to cut by at least half the number of days of leave promised to Guard members and Reservists who were deployed beyond their usual rotation cycles The extra time off had been granted in 2007 as part of the Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence program, or PDMRA In cases of extraordinary sacrifice — meaning more-than-expected time away from family and lives back home — Guard members and Reservists were given four extra leave days for every extra month of active duty they were made to serve That suddenly changed in October to only one or two extra leave days, depending on location of service

“In the middle of their deployments, nearly 50,000 active-duty Guard members and Reservists learned that an important benefit already promised to them would not be honored,” US Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, wrote in a column for Memorial Day weekend “That was wrong”

But fixable, thanks to Klobuchar and others, including others who represent Northeastern Minnesota’s interests in Washington, DC, namely US Sen Al Franken, D-Minn, and US Rep Chip Cravaack, R-Minn  Klobuchar introduced legislation to guarantee “that all of the reserve-component troops originally eligible for the full PDMRA benefit should receive what was promised to them,” as she wrote “When the Pentagon changed the policy, it should have made clear that troops currently serving on active duty would be grandfathered in under the original policy But it didn’t … You would think it might be pretty simple for the Defense Department to correct its mistake Of course, that wasn’t the case”

Franken co-sponsored the legislation He also ripped off a strongly worded letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

“They have served courageously,” Franken wrote of Minnesota’s National Guard members “It is unfair to take away benefits they were promised”

Making matters worse, as Franken pointed out in his letter, “This is not the first time the Red Bulls have encountered problems with their earned PDMRA benefits Within days of being sworn in to the Senate in mid-2009, I co-sponsored a bill that redressed the failure to compensate service members … for eligible service”

In the House, Cravaack co-sponsored the companion bill

“When I attended the Red Bulls’ deployment ceremony last year in Pine City, Minn, one of the commanding officers in the brigade, Lt Col Eddie Frizell, said to the families, ‘I’ll bring them all home,’ ” Cravaack, a 24-year veteran of the US Navy, recalled in a statement “True to his word, the first thing Lt Col Frizell said in a hand salute to Maj Gen Richard Nash, the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, when his feet touched the ground (upon returning to) Minnesota was, ‘I brought them all home’ I do not think it is too much to ask that those who were promised 24 days of extra leave for up to two years of deployed service should receive that paid leave”

Doing the right thing wasn’t too much to ask, as it turned out Thanks to the actions and urgings of Klobuchar, Franken, Cravaack and others, the bipartisan legislation (how could it have been anything but bipartisan?) passed and was signed into law this month by President Obama

A wrong was made right Elected leaders worked well together to fix a problem

“This is a problem that should never have happened But it did And it should not have taken an act of Congress and the signature of the president to fix it But it did,” Klobuchar wrote “In the end, what’s most important is that our nation kept faith with our dedicated men and women in uniform When they signed up to serve and defend our country, the door was open and they were welcomed in When they return home and look for their hard-earned benefits, they shouldn’t find a door that’s closed with red tape”

Published May 29, 2012, 12:00 AM
Article source
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/232746/group/Opinion/



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Posted: 2017-07-25  12:55 PM
Talisman Saber CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 140 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade recently wrapped up participation here in the seventh iteration of the biennial training exercise Talisman Saber.

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based Soldiers were among 33,000 U.S. and Australian military personnel who convened in multiple locations around the world to support and engage in the event made up of field training and command post exercise components.

Unit members of the 34th CAB, which is adept at providing a wide spectrum of aviation support, took part in the command post exercise and used the training as an opportunity to focus on air-ground integration -- or synchronizing aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.



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ARNG BWC CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Fourteen of the Army National Guard's most elite Soldiers gathered on Camp Ripley Training Center in central Minnesota July 17-20 to determine who would compete in the all-Army Best Warrior Competition later this year.

Although every Soldier gave it their all, only one noncommissioned officer and one enlisted Soldier would claim the title of Army National Guard Best Warrior. The room was tense as everyone awaited the results during the final awards ceremony.

"We told you we were going to do everything but break you," said Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Wortham, the Minnesota National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor. He summarized the four days explaining how the competitors all came from their respective states as individual competitors and through the competition ended up as comrades. "You were stressed, you were challenged. You guys did a fantastic job... But, the devil's in the details."



Fourteen Soldiers. Twelve States. One Competition.

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:45 PM
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The competitors have been conducting last-minute training since July 12 at Camp Ripley by honing their skills on various weapons, maintaining their physical strength and endurance, and reviewing military tasks.

"I'm feeling very confident," said Cpl. Joseph Garback, a cannon crewmember with B Co., 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey National Guard. He's been preparing with the other Region 1 competition winner, Sgt. Zachary Scuncio. Garback says he has really liked the hands-on preparation at Camp Ripley and believes he's had an ample amount of time to prepare.



Minnesota-based Combat Aviation Unit Soars into Battle Phase of Bilateral Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:52 AM
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Members of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit, which is adept at providing a wide spectrum of aviation support, recently dove into the battle phase of the bilateral training exercise Talisman Saber 17. Throughout the exercise, much of their training will focus on air-ground integration -- or synchronizing aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.



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