Guard the Field brings students and Vikings together
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Pfc. Cody Raatz, a member of the Albert Lea High School football team, never imagined he would be playing football at the Minnesota Vikings' Winter Park training facility with some of his favorite professional football players.
"You don't get many opportunities to meet the football players you watch on TV," Raatz said. "Let alone have the chance to throw a ball around with them."
Raatz was just one of a group of high school students from across the state who participated in the Minnesota National Guard's annual "Guard the Field" event Jan. 12, 2013. The event provided a unique opportunity for the high school athletes to meet some of their role models.
The day started with a panel of players offering advice and answering questions, followed by running drills on the field.
"The biggest piece of advice I have to give to these kids is don't be that guy they say could have made it; be the guy who makes it. Keep yourself motivated and always give 100 percent," shared Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson.
Raatz sees his decision to join the Minnesota National Guard as a way to reach his 100 percent. "Basic training changed me," he said. "I know now about how much potential I do have. In ten weeks you can really learn a lot about yourself."
His family and friends have seen the changes too. "A lot of my friends are pretty amazed that I enlisted so young and actually went to basic training. Most have said that I came back a different person. I'm pretty proud of that," Raatz explained.
"Being in the Army is a lot like football," Raatz continued. "Basic training is 30 percent physical and 70 percent mental. It's also about working as a team with your fellow Soldiers to get the job done."
That is a sentiment shared by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. "The game's mostly mental. You need to start with the basics, build your team and put in a lot of hard work to make it," he advised the students.
"You reap what you sow in football and the National Guard," Raatz stated. "In football you lift weights, run, practice, etc. in hopes of winning games. The coach guides you. In basic training your drill sergeants give you the tools you need and teach you to use them. It's up to you to put them to use. If you want to succeed you will. In the National Guard it's all about how hard you work and how well you do your job that determines how far you can go."
Each year the Recruiting and Retention Battalion hosts the "Guard the Field" event. Staff Sgt. Dajon Ferrell explained the mission as an opportunity for the Minnesota National Guard and the Minnesota Vikings to teach teamwork and dedication to the group of students. "'Guard the Field' gives them the opportunity to pay if forward to the next generation," she explained.
Jan. 12, 2013
Staff Sgt. Danielle Eineke
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Public Affairs
Posted: 2014-10-16 09:34 AM ST. PAUL, Minn.- Thirteen airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift WingSecurity Forces Squadron are scheduled to return Friday to Minnesota following a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia.
"During this deployment, the 133rd airmen melded with their active duty counterparts and utilized their citizen-airmen experiences and training to help fight the war on terrorism in an overseas environment," said Col. Terrance Sieben, the security forces squadron commander.
Posted: 2014-10-15 08:42 AM MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.(KMSP)- Talking with Minneapolis police Sgt. Katie Blackwell, it's clear she truly cares about her job and the people who live and work in the first precinct.When a man was sexually assaulting women in Ramp C downtown last week Sgt. Blackwell took it personally, making his arrest a top priority. The suspect was in custody within 48 hours.
"We just won't tolerate predators walking through our city and our communities, so yeah, I took it pretty personally," Sgt. Blackwell said.
To understand why she cares so much, one has to know where she's coming from, and it's quite a story. She grew up one of 10 kids in northeast Minneapolis, something Sgt. Blackwell says helps her connect with her community.
Posted: 2014-10-14 01:46 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Little Falls High School students joined members of the Camp Ripley environmental team on Oct. 2, 2014, to assist with a forestry management project.
"We are always looking for projects outside the classroom," said Doug Ploof, agricultural sciences teacher at Little Falls High School. "Exposure to the kind of hands-on work done in this field is great education for these kids. Their enthusiasm to come on the Camp Ripley and work with people doing this everyday made the hard work well worth it."
Posted: 2014-10-10 09:14 AM ST. PAUL, Minn.-National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is observed every October and was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.
The Minnesota National Guard is taking part in the awareness campaign, but it doesn't just stop there.
"Though it is cyber security awareness month, our approach is to provide outreach continuously," said Col. Stephanie Horvath, Chief Information Officer, Minnesota National Guard. "We are constantly focused on improving situational awareness on cyber security."
Posted: 2014-10-05 01:48 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Five former Service members received honors from the Minnesota National Guard Memorialization Board as they were inducted into the Court of Honor on Camp Ripley, Oct. 5., 2014.
"This truly is a great honor to be recognized in front of my family, my friends and those I served with," said Lt. Gen (Bvt.) Larry Shellito.
The Court of Honor commemorates the lasting contributions of Soldiers who have dedicated their lives to the service of the state and nation. Each year, the memorialization board reviews nominations on exemplary Soldiers. The best submissions are forwarded to the state headquarters of the Minnesota National Guard for final approval by the adjutant general.
Posted: 2014-10-05 11:19 AM BLOOMINGTON, Minn.- While 2014 is coming to a close, the Minnesota National Guard is looking to finalize the structural reorganizations that have been implemented over the past year.
Already the largest of the Minnesota Army National Guard's four major subordinate commands, the 1/34th ABCT has seen a new field artillery battery added to their 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, as well as the addition of the 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment out of Stowe, Ohio, which is aligned for training. The 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion was also converted into the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion, adding additional engineering capabilities to the unit.