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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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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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