| 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 a.m. 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 a.m. 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
148th Fighter Wing Security Forces Conduct Winter Training
Posted: 2014-03-09 12:00 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- With winter winds blowing steady, and wind chills hovering at 30 degrees below zero, 21 members of the 148th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) took over parts of Camp Ripley, Minn., in a four-day combined drill. Led by Capt. John Christenson and Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Gunderson, the Airman of the 148th SFS took part in advanced weapons and tactics skills training while utilizing state-of-the-art weapons and vehicle simulators, as well as a large assault village.
During the period of Feb. 27 - March 2, the teams of the 148th SFS arrived at Camp Ripley and went straight into simulated combat using the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST 2000). Individual and squad weapons simulators allowed the members to work using M4 assault rifles and M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, overcoming combat situations as a team and handling law enforcement "shoot, don't shoot" scenarios. The group then spent two days working in the bitter, winter weather at the Combined Collective Training Facility (CACTF), a mock city set up to simulate any and all building configurations.
Social media offers many benefits, but Guard members must remain aware of its risks
Posted: 2014-03-06 10:10 AM
ARLINGTON, Va., (3/6/2014) - The use of social media has made it easier for many to stay connected to friends and family. It often provides the opportunities to give near instant communications via text or images and can help ease stresses when Service members are deployed. The benefits of social media are nearly endless and often far reaching.
"Social media spreads news faster than any other media," said Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Brush, the senior enlisted advisor for the chief, National Guard Bureau, on his Facebook page, adding "it empowers us to effect change and do good on a community, state, national or even international level."
133rd Airlift Wings Snow Birds Fly South for a Training Exercise
Posted: 2014-03-06 05:06 AM
Yuma, Ariz.- Airmen from the 109th Airlift Squadron and 133rd Airlift Wing make use of warmer temperatures to accomplish six-months of airdrops and other annual training requirements in a six-day time period in Yuma, Ariz., during Mar., 1, 2014.
The training provided a wide range of unique challenges that can't be reproduced in Minnesota. For the flight crews, the skies over Yuma Proving Grounds introduced unfamiliar terrain and high aircraft traffic volume. For the traditional Airmen, they were exposed to training beyond the normal Unit Training Assembly weekend. In addition, the newer Airmen had to adapt to the quick turnaround between the day and evening flights.