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Minnesota National Guard
Guard the Field brings students and Vikings together

Minnesota National Guard 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


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Minnesota National Guard conducts react to contact drills with Montenegro Armed Forces

Posted: 2016-09-14  10:13 AM
Immediate Response 16 U.S. and Montenegrin Soldiers tested their ability to perform battle drills that included squad attacks, react to contact, break contact, and react to ambush while supporting Immediate Response 16 at the Croatian Armed Forces training area of Slunj, Croatia.

"Training like IR16 gets the younger Soldiers the experience in a little more than just what we do at home by going to a different country, seeing a different culture, meeting different people, establishing relationships that you would never get if you go overseas," said Sgt. George Langstaff, a squad leader assigned to the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry.

The exercise and simulations are built upon a decisive action-based scenario and are designed to enhance regional stability, strengthen allied and partner nation capacity, and improve interoperability among partner nations.



University of Minnesota, Minnesota National Guard partner for crisis simulation exercise

Posted: 2016-09-13  04:28 PM
Disaster Simulation Exercise CANNON FALLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard partnered with the University of Minnesota and other humanitarian organizations in a collaborative program to train students and prospective humanitarian aid workers during a three-day Humanitarian Crisis Simulation exercise at the Phillippo Scout Reservation in Cannon Falls, Sept. 9-11, 2016.

"A goal is to help students gain an appreciation of humanitarian work by putting them in an environment typical of humanitarian crises," said Dr. Eric James, co-instructor for the course. "We put the students into complex scenarios so they can apply the knowledge and skills learned from the course. They get to experience first-hand the stress of making a decision under pressure while providing aid to refugees in an unfamiliar country."

The Minnesota National Guard has participated in the exercise for the past four years, strengthening interagency relationships with local and international humanitarian organizations.



Minnesota National Guard hosts fun run to bring awareness to suicide prevention efforts

Posted: 2016-09-09  11:12 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard is hosting a "Power of One" Fun Run, Sunday, September 11, during National Suicide Prevention Week to call attention to suicide prevention efforts in the military and civilian communities.

The run will take place at the Benjamin Franklin Readiness Center in Arden Hills and will help Minnesota Guardsmen meet annual suicide prevention training requirements while building unit cohesion and encouraging connectedness between battle buddies, family members and local community resource providers. The run emphasizes the power that one individual has to save a life and prevent suicide.

"The Minnesota National Guard is committed to preventing suicides in our organization," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. "We are continually looking for new ways to bring the suicide prevention message to our Service members. Our people are our most precious resource and one loss to suicide is one too many."



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