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History
Minnesota National Guard
How Do You Measure Up?

Minnesota National Guard Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes used to struggle with the physical fitness test and some years didn't pass  During the body composition tape test he remembers how he would tuck his chin in to change his neck diameter and improve his score  Now, he wants other Service members to know not to be afraid of failure because that's what it takes to succeed

Zirbes lost over 70 pounds on Weight Watchers for Men and was selected as a spokesperson  He is passionate and excited to share his story so that, "It might be that kick in the pants for someone who needs it," he said

While sitting on his couch, on January 6, 2011, he noticed his t-shirt creeping up over his belly and he said to himself, "Oh no, that didn't just happen"  That's when a commercial for Weight Watchers came on He signed up on-line  He was 236 pounds then, but after one week on Weight Watchers he lost five pounds just by following the plan, adjusting his food choices and making small modifications to his routine like taking the stairs or parking further away

"At first others thought it wasn't going to last and that it was just for the fitness test After losing 20 pounds and keeping it off, others started to pay attention"  Being overweight he used to feel extra stress during promotion boards and physical training tests Now he can see, "it isn't all about smarts, you need to improve physically as well as mentally" 

To succeed he began to look at food in new ways with the help of the Weight Watchers points system and the easy to use on-line program and phone application  He started to eat breakfast on time and having dinner before six  Things like having a beer became more of a reward  His approach was simple he said, "Don't look at it as what you can't have, look at it as substitutions

When Zirbes reached 216 pounds he hit his first plateau, he was an E-6 and was in phase one of the Army Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course  He started to check on Weight Watchers blogs and engage in chats where he was able to talk to another military person who pointed out that he was likely consuming far too much salt  He began taking into consideration what causes fluctuations in his weight and learning more about his body 

When Zirbes reached 190 pounds, he hit another plateau and that is when he started working out, biking, lifting and running to gain more muscle  After six months, in July 2012, he had reached his goal weight of 175  Today, he looks forward to working out and has established equilibrium in his weight maintenance  That is not to say it he is not without setbacks  Zirbes explains, "It's a matter of how you handle speed bumps or road blocks, and mental fortitude comes into play  Choose something that is proven (like Weight Watchers) and stay the course"

He points out that he used to hear a lot of "if only," and now he tells Soldiers "YOU CAN!"  In August 2011 he put a packet in for the Warrant Officer program and was accepted in March 2012 He accepted a commission and quit smoking in September 2012  During training he received a State Command Warrant Officer Award for exceeding the standards  With his new drive and ambition he feels that he has pushed himself far and isn't ready to stop

"It isn't about doing the minimum its about exceeding the minimum, exceeding your minimum and pushing yourself to the max standard, to be the leader and to help other people progress" Instead of "sticking to the corners" now he wants opportunities, he wants to be a leader and have Soldiers to look to him as an example 

Zirbes advice for others struggling with weight,  "Look at yourself, don't look to others around you  It is all about making yourself better  Losing weight is 'all good'; nothing is going to harm you  You have to be willing to do whatever it takes!" 

After being selected as a contest winner for Weight Watchers success stories, Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes was asked to be part of the Weight Watchers Campaign  He did a video interview in Minneapolis and was further selected to be used in a national commercial campaign  Weight Watchers flew him and his wife out to Los Angeles, California and where he spent three days creating various spots  Select the links below to view them 

By Staff Sgt Jennifer Rechtfertig
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
April 15, 2013

Video Links:
http://wwwtwincitiescom/turningpoint/ci_22543074/minnesota-man-leans-up-wises-up-and-stars?IADID=Search-wwwtwincitiescom-wwwtwincitiescom

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE783Vt08jo

http://wwwweightwatcherscom/men/ Find out what makes Weight Watchers online for men work: How it works video


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Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



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