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Minnesota National Guard
A Mom on a Mission for Mothers Day

This female Minnesota Army National Guard Soldier probably had one of the more unique Mothers Day greetings

As Sgt Veronica Schilling of Fort Ripley, Minn, stood in the turret of a Humvee in Iraq, her truck commander, 1st Lt Paul Harper of North Minneapolis, Minn, yelled up to her, Hey Schilling, Happy Mothers Day, as the clock struck 12:15 am

For the next several hours, Schilling of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, either stood up in the turret or sat down on its parapet, assuming her duties as one of four Humvee gunners This convoy escort team secured more than 15 semi trucks hauling goods from a small base in southern Iraq to Baghdad International Airport

The convoy didnt arrive at BIAP until sunrise

I would like my family to know that I do all of this for them, said Schilling, a 1995 Little Falls High School graduate and the married mother of a daughter who turns 2 on May 24 I am here for those I love most back home

She also said that when her daughter, Brooke, is older she will explain to her that she deployed to Iraq to protect her

Sure will be a mothers day you cant forget, Schilling said What she did this particular night wasnt different from any others She was the eyes for her team armed with a machine gun mounted on the swiveling turret This included using a large spotlight and donning night vision goggles

I shine anything that looks suspicious, she said

Schillings spotlight duties included illuminating potholes and overpasses for her driver, Spc Brandon Gerold (ducking down in the Humvee for safety as it went under them)

Schilling, who has been in the Guard since 1997, would also tell Harper the convoys interval status and other traffic concerns

When the convoy stopped because of the discovery of an Improvised Explosive Device several miles up the highway, Schilling donned her night vision goggles She said she was constantly scanning the area around the Humvee

Just always being alert and looking around, Schilling said this pretty much summed up her duties

She said she isn't the only one on the roads looking around It feels pretty good when people do a double take when they see that it is a female up there (in the turret), she said Its a good feeling

She said this reaction also gives her a lot of confidence

Something she admitted she didnt have when she first learned that she was going be a gunner I didnt feel that I had enough training on the crew served weapon, she said But with some additional experience I felt very confident and proud to be a female gunner

Schilling also trained with other Soldiers that she replaced Her fist convoy was to BIAP

It was a good time, she said The guys made it fun, they knew when to joke and not to joke around but it still was scary at times

This training also gave her the opportunity to test fire a 50-caliber machine gun, the weapon of choice for most gunners

I have learned since that first convoy to be very alert and always be ready to fight, she said My teams safety is dependent on my ability to quickly react

Back in Minnesota, Schilling left a full-time position at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn, where she worked at the Property Management Office

When she returns, she will be the supply noncommissioned officer for Company B, 134th Brigade Support Battalion at the camp

She also will work in supply at Camp Adder, Iraq once a replacement company takes over the convoy escort missions next month

She said her deployment goal is to build on her skills as a noncommissioned officer and return to Minnesota with this knowledge and experience as back up

But for now, she said she will remember this Mothers Day as a day that she wasnt with her family but thought of them constantly

She also knows that Brooke is in good hands Schillings mother quit her job so she could watch Brooke during the day

Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood, 1/34 BCT PAO
May 2006




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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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