/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Women help carry VFW's torch as older vets pass away

ROSEMOUNT, Minn — On Wednesdays, the Rosemount VFW regulars head to the post for bingo night The weekly game is open to the public and helps fund the VFW's operations

Maj Kristen Auge, center, sells bingo sheets Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at VFW Post 9433 in Rosemount Auge is one of a growing number of female service members who are getting involved in traditionally male-dominated VFWs She volunteers each week at the VFW working Wednesday bingo nights (MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Minnesota National Guard Maj Kristin Auge volunteers at the post selling bingo cards to the players And though she lives just a few miles away, she had never been inside this VFW until last spring when she joined

It took a little more work that she thought it would

"I walked up to one of the guys and I said I wanted to sign up to be in the organization and I said 'I'm here to join' And he says, 'Well, you've had to have been in the service' And I said, 'Well, I am, and I still am' And he says, 'Well, you'll have had to have deployed' 'Yes, I just got back from Iraq' And he was like 'Oh, OK, I guess I'll take your paperwork,' " she recalled

The older members welcomed Auge, so she cajoled some initially reluctant female friends into joining

Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, once vital parts of small communities in Minnesota, have seen ranks fall drastically over the last few decades as older veterans pass away But Minnesota VFW officials say they're seeing an influx of women like Auge joining the organization after coming back from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan

The trend is stronger in Minnesota than in neighboring states, although the reason isn't clear Auge said she wanted a place where she could spend time with the women who were part of her support system during deployments And she wanted to maintain contact with a military culture that had made up the structure of her life for more than two decades

Auge and her close friend Bosnia veteran Diane Sandberg successfully campaigned for leadership positions at the post Sandberg said they quickly saw the institution was facing extinction She jokes that, as women, they were better equipped to solve the problem

"We definitely have pluses that the men don't have We hear everything It's not selective hearing We can balance and juggle where they're just, you know, more single-minded," she said "I know I'm being funny but we want to make sure this is there for the future and we want to do our part, now that we can, to make sure that it stays sacred"

Sandberg said veterans — male and female — need a place where they can spend time with others who understand their experiences

"Wars are not going to stop, military service is not going to stop and so future soldiers, men and women, need a place to go, and they need a place to decompress at times," Sandberg said
But sometimes the generations — and the genders — clash over things like the decor Iraq veteran Linda Ausen doesn't like it

"The club is kinda dark and dreary, and we want to brighten up the place," Ausen said "Some of these guys are still thinking 'Oh no, it's fine, we like the dark wood paneling' "

Sometimes the clashes are about behavior Korean War veteran Kenneth Talbert said some older vets don't realize you can't just give someone a good-natured pat on the bottom

"That's part of the problem, I think, is the sexual harassment area," Talbert said

Rosemount post Commander Marvin Jansma, a Vietnam War vet, said male members are watching themselves

"You can only go so far," Jansma said "You just have to behave yourself

Jansma said he's grateful for new members and officers, regardless of their gender As his generation ages, he said it's getting harder to maintain the post

"When it comes to the young ladies that we've got here, we're thankful, and there's challenges, but we have opportunities," he said

Jansma said those opportunities mean the post is more likely to survive and thrive when his generation is gone
Article source with audio

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.

Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Article archive