| Ceremony Sunday to celebrate Veterans Day
Military service runs in Jarvas Polk's family
The first lieutenant in the Minnesota National Guard enlisted in 2005, in part because of the number of his family members who have been in the armed services over the years including grandparents, aunts and uncles
"Serving affects people you might not even realize," said Polk, the featured speaker Sunday at the the Winona Veterans Day Ceremony "They made me want to contribute more than I was to the world I wanted to be part of a bigger picture"
Polk returned in May from his first deployment to Afghanistan, where he helped train Afghan police and soldiers "It was a really gratifying experience," he said "It made you feel like you were really contributing"
Sunday's ceremony includes a 24-hour vigil starting at midnight, the 11 am ceremony, displays and a showing of the movie "Memorial Day" at the Winona Area Veterans Center
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, named after the 1918 cease-fire that signaled the end of World War I The armistice was signed at 11 am Nov 11, which is where the phrase "the eleventh hour" came from
A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov 11 as Armistice Day The holiday's name and date would change over the years until 1975, when President Gerald Ford signed into law the current rules on the holiday's observation
For many, this year's Veterans Day ceremony is a special one This will be the first Veterans Day since the winding down of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Polk said, including the return of the Red Bulls Minnesota Guard unit from Kuwait
"It's really a time for us to thank fellow members of the military for their service and remember those no longer with us," he said "We also need to take a second to realize we have people still deployed"
Winona Daily News
Minnesota National Guard contract acquisition team to deploy
Posted: 2017-01-15 04:44 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Four Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Little Falls-based 1903rd Support Detachment, 347th Regional Support Group will deploy for a nine-month contracting mission at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
"The Soldiers are motivated, trained and ready for their upcoming mission. We will contract for the necessary services and supplies to support the warfighter," said to Lt. Col. Michael Lange, the team commander.
Jensen takes command of historic 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in its 100th year
Posted: 2017-01-13 01:54 PM
Brig. Gen. Jon Jensen, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff, took command of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, Jan. 8, 2017, as the Division marks its centennial anniversary.
"2017 marks a historic year for the Red Bulls as we begin celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 34th Infantry Division," said Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. The Division, then known as the "Sandstorm Division," was created in 1917 from National Guard troops of Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas and Nebraska.
Jensen is the second native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to hold the position and joins a long line of commanders who have led the Division through both of the World Wars up to the current Global War on Terrorism.
Military, Civilian Response Agencies Train for Super Bowl 2018
Posted: 2017-01-12 09:34 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) and Twin Cities emergency service personnel with MN Task Force One endured single-digit temperatures at the WestRock paper mill in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 7, 2017, for a joint training exercise.
The 203-person CERFP conducts command and control, search and extraction, decontamination and medical operations to assist civil authorities in providing disaster response. It is comprised of Soldiers from the 84th Troop Command, 682nd Engineer Battalion and 434th Chemical Company, and Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing Medical Group.
This was the second joint training exercise the CERFP and MN Task Force One have conducted together, said Maj. Ryan Cochran, the Deputy Commander of the Minnesota CERFP.
NOREX 44 'Away Team' assembles in preparation for annual exchange
Posted: 2017-01-11 01:21 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The contingent of soldiers and airmen from the Minnesota National Guard preparing for the annual U.S.-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange assembled for their first formal training event Saturday and Sunday at Camp Ripley Training Center.
The preparatory drill weekend, which took place one month before 103 members of the Minnesota National Guard embark to Norway as part of the "away team" for the two-week military and cultural exchange event, was held to provide information on the exchange and, more importantly, allow an opportunity for these service members from units across the state to come together as one team.
"It's a good opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds in an accelerated environment," said Army Sgt. 1st Class David Wentzel, with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery. "This experience is what they're going to make of it, and they're making the most of it."