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The Minnesota National Guard celebrates Native American Heritage
The Minnesota National Guard celebrates Native American Heritage. American Indians have eagerly served in the military for more than 200 years, in spite of a government which did not always keep its word to their ancestors. As early as the 18th century, American Indians were recognized by American military leaders. General George Washington in 1778 stated he thought the American Indians would be great scouts and light troops. Since then, American Indians have been involved in every war since the War of 1812. During the Vietnam War, more than 90 percent of American Indians were volunteers.
While there are few circumstances of documented overt prejudice while in uniform, Navajo Code Talkers were sometimes mistaken by their own men for Japanese soldiers. But as one code talker recalled, Navajos had a chance to prove wrong the bigots back home; the military prized them for speaking their own language. For many American Indian veterans, the honor of defending their country overrode all other considerations. Currently, American Indians have the highest record of service per capita in comparison to other ethnic groups. It is deeply rooted in their culture to serve their country and they value a proud warrior tradition. At the end of the 20th century there were almost 190,000 American Indian Veterans.
Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are two popular holidays celebrated every year in the month of November. During this month of November, let's take time to reminisce and be grateful to our American Indian service members who have contributed to the success of the United States of America and its military.
Posted: 2016-08-19 01:53 PM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2016
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
With the implementation of the "REAL ID Act" going into effect at Department of Defense installations nationwide, access will no longer be granted to Minnesotans carrying standard state-issued identification cards. Beginning this week, Minnesota residents will be required to have an approved escort or use alternative forms of identification to access the following installations:
- 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul
- 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth
- 934th Joint Base, Minneapolis
- Military Facility at Fort Snelling
Without a 'Real ID,' access will be granted only to individuals with an approved escort (i.e. a service member with a Common Access Card), or carrying one of the approved alternative forms of acceptable ID.
Posted: 2016-08-19 08:22 AM General John W. Vessey, Jr., a former member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away August 18, 2016, at the age of 94.
General John W. Vessey, Jr. was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 June 1922. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in May 1939 while still in high school, becoming a member of Headquarters, 59th Field Artillery Brigade, 34th Infantry Division. He was only 16 and fibbed about his age to join. With other members of his unit he was called to active duty in February 1941. When war came, the 34th became the first American division sent to Europe, where it initially fought in North Africa and then in Italy. A natural leader, Vessey rose quickly in the enlisted ranks until 6 May 1944 when, pinned down on the Anzio Beachhead amidst high casualties, the 21-year old battery first sergeant was given a battlefield commission and sent forward to direct artillery fire.
Vessey decided to stay in the Army after war. During his first 30 years of military service, he spent most of his time in combat divisions. In addition to his World War II assignment with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy, Vessey served with the 4th Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in Germany, the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado.
He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also graduated from the University of Maryland. His love of flying prompted him to earn his wings, which he always wore proudly. When he graduated from the Army Helicopter School in 1970, he was 15 years older than the next oldest student.
"Soldiers truly enjoyed this alternative training option. The smiles that were on the participants faces when they crossed the finish line showed they had fun," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeanette Chaffee of R3SP.
The inheritance of over 70 years of deployments, challenges and achievements resonated in the several events executed by the men and women of the battalion.
"The trials this unit lived through since its creation are inspirational for all of us ... no matter what you are doing," said Capt. Joe Howe, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.