Minnesota National Guard
Wal-Mart Says Its Hiring 100,000 Returning Veterans In Next 5 Years

Minnesota National Guard MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Starting on Veteran’s Day, an American retailer says it will hire more than 100,000 returning veterans in the next five years.

Wal-Mart will offer jobs to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first year off from active duty.

The opportunities will be in stores, distribution centers and the home office.

The numbers are against veterans finding employment. Capt. Jeff Pratt was one of those returning veterans struggling to find a job.

“Finding full-time quality employment was a big thing for me,” Pratt said.

According to U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, as of December 2012, the unemployment rate for civilians is 7.5 percent, while people who have served in the last decade have 10.8 percent unemployment.

That’s down from more than 12 percent unemployment for returning service members as of a year ago.

Pratt says Wal-Mart and other companies will benefit from what returning service members have to offer.

“Leadership value; there is honor, integrity in everything we do in the military,” he said.

Pratt was one of the lucky ones.

“Companies like UnitedHealth Group and others that are out there have engaged in a process that will gainfully employ returning service members,” he said.

His military job in logistics transferred nicely to UnitedHealth. Pratt said it was easy because of a military skills translator the company uses on its website.

That military skills translator is used by many other companies. The Minnesota National Guard worked numerous Minnesota-based companies such as Target, Best Buy and US Bank to help soldiers in get jobs.

And it has paid off.

When the Red Bulls returned last May, 20 percent faced unemployment. Today? Only 35 of those 2,700 soldiers do not have jobs.

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Minnesota Guard leaders inducted into Court of Honor

Posted: 2015-10-07  11:02 AM
Court of Honor CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seven retired members of the Minnesota National Guard were recognized before their fellow service members as they were inducted into the Court of Honor, Oct. 4, 2015, at Camp Ripley.

"It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to recognize these select leaders who have served our communities, state and nation with distinction," said Col. John Kolb, chief of staff for Joint Force Headquarters.

The Memorialization Board selects individuals for their service to the Minnesota National Guard as well as continued service to their communities. The board reviews the nominations received and forwards their recommendations to the Minnesota Adjutant General for approval. These inductees join the names of more than 300 others, since 1933, who have demonstrated their unwavering dedication, loyalty and distinguished service to the Minnesota National Guard.

Willmar National Guard Unit Set To Deploy

Posted: 2015-10-05  11:04 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015

WILLMAR, Minn.- More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.

"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.

Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse

Posted: 2015-10-05  09:26 AM
MSTC Zach Kayser CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.

The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.

Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.

Last 133rd Airlift Wing Vietnam-Era Veteran Retires

Posted: 2015-09-30  01:56 PM
Michael Stephen Phillips ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.

An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.

"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"

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