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Minnesota National Guard
Army pilot who grew up in Minnesota killed in Afghanistan

Another Minnesota family is mourning the loss of a Soldier Last Friday, when a Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, 10 troops were killed Among them was St Paul native Eric Totten
St Paul, Minn - Eric Totten grew up in St Paul in the Frogtown neighborhood before his family moved to Golden Valley After high school, though, the Army was Totten's home He enlisted in 1993, shortly after graduating Family members say Totten wanted to do something with his life after losing a close friend to drugs and suicide

Totten, had a great interest in flying He became a CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot, and his colleagues say he was good

The Chinook is huge; it looks like a bus with huge rotors over the front and back ends It weighs almost 12 tons empty and can carry three dozen troops, including the crew

Calvin Dockery is also a Chinook pilot He served with Totten in Afghanistan for six months "Eric was just so calm all the time He just never seemed like he got excited, I guess He was very level-headed, a really intelligent guy I think the combination of the those things made him a great pilot," according to Dockery

Totten was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he died His most recent deployment was in February

Totten was part off the flight crew on the Chinook helicopter that went down last Friday The military says the 10 Soldiers on board died when the copter fell into a ravine during a mountaintop landing in Kunar Province

Eric was just so calm all the time He was very level-headed, a really intelligent guy I think the combination of the those things made him a great pilot

- Calvin Dockery, Chinook pilot

As one member of the small group of pilots who fly Chinooks, Dockery says news of the crash got his attention right away

"You always kind of assume you may know someone in the Chinook world, but when you finally hear that it is someone you know, someone you really like, it's even worse news It's one of those hard-to-grasp things I've lost several friends now in action I'm not saying I'm getting used to it, but it's not as large a shock as it used to be, I guess," Dockery said

Dockery first met Totten about five years ago when his company joined Totten's unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Dockery says when he arrived, Totten was welcoming and showed him around the base Dockery says he remembers Totten as a nice guy

"He never seemed to ever get mad or upset," he said "It seems like someone's always mad in the Army But he was just always so nice Honestly, you always hear the cliche, 'I don't remember him saying a bad thing about anybody' I really don't remember Eric ever saying anything bad"

Dockery is sending condolences to Totten's family Eric Totten died less than a week shy of his 35th birthday He leaves behind a stepmother in Texas and five older brothers and sisters

by Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio




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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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