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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helps recognize military men and women

No matter what your position on the wars, we honor the warriors this Veterans Week

Gone are the days, thank goodness, when warriors who returned from the Vietnam War were greeted shamefully

Now, communities across the state are organizing Beyond the Yellow Ribbon units, designed to organize their resources and to help military families in every way possible, particularly those recently deployed or returning from deployment
These families and those returning from deployment face challenges adjusting to civilian life and to their families

The National Guard particularly is involving Yellow Ribbon units to help their members adjust to civilian life

One challenge for those who have organized Yellow Ribbon units is locating the families who need the help and are reluctant to ask for it Due to privacy laws, their military units are not able to provide those names

The hope of Yellow Ribbon units is that if organized, families will come forward

So, this is an appeal to military families to come forward if you need help and your Yellow Ribbon community will go out of its way to assist you

There also is a State Yellow Ribbon web site for guidance

A Yellow Ribbon community has to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to be certified by the state A steering committee writes the plan and follows it up after state certification That plan has key areas of city leadership, veterans organizations, K-12 education and youth programs, public safety and judicial, business and employers, faith based, medical, social services and volunteer groups

Yellow Ribbon organizers are finding that initially families are asking for little things: repairing, fixing pluming and electrical problems, mowing lawns, painting houses, caring for children

One example is a mother who needed help to move from her home in St Cloud to her parents’ home in Brooklyn Park; 17 Yellow Ribbon members helped her

Annette Kuyper, director of military outreach, says so many veterans feel alone and isolated and now Minnesota has Beyond the Yellow Ribbon networks to support them

At first, the program began to help National Guard members and was expanded to include all members of the military and veterans

Now when the warriors come home from the war, they are welcomed, not spat upon, in part because Yellow Ribbon communities have come together to help and to thank those who have sacrificed much for our country

November 5, 2012
Don Heinzman is a columnist and editorial writer for ECM Publishers, Inc
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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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