/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Anderson: A way for veterans to get out and hunt

Minnesota National Guard A turkey hunt is one of various sporting outings held annually at Camp Ripley for veterans and active service members

CAMP RIPLEY - Great things happen every day in this country, sometimes in not-so-obvious places

In a blind on this expansive military training center on a recent early morning, Samantha "Sam" Hunter issued hen turkey yelps to what she hoped was a love-struck gobbler perched in a near-distant tree

This was early, before the morning's full light gathered atop the deep snow that encircled the blind But not before Hunter, 35, and Randy Falknor, 61, and his adult son, Will -- an observer on this day -- set a couple of decoys in front of their blind

And not before Randy, in his motorized wheelchair, was positioned so he could accurately align his shotgun at the tom turkey, should it strut within range

"That turkey knows we're here now,'' Hunter said, quieting her call "Let's see if he comes''

Elsewhere on Camp Ripley, similar dramas were unfolding, as about 32 veterans, many with scars from their years of military service, and each accompanied by volunteer guides, huddled in the chilled pre-dawn, waiting for trigger-squeezing opportunities

Consummately wary as they are, few turkeys would fall to shotgun volleys that morning But to the hunters, if not the guides, that outcome would be largely inconsequential The victory for these veterans, some dating to service in World War II, was in the opportunity

"With the limitations some of these veterans have, Camp Ripley allows them to get into the field in a safe, controlled environment,'' said Dennis Erie, an employee of the St Cloud VA Health Care System and chief organizer of the event at the 53,000-acre military training facility near Little Falls in central Minnesota

Said the elder Falknor, of Sauk Rapids: "I've always been an avid shooter but not a particularly avid hunter But since my disabilities set in, and I've had the opportunity to hunt, I've really grown to love it It's kind of a proclamation of freedom''

The turkey hunt is one of various sporting outings held annually at Camp Ripley for veterans and active service members Each requires considerable funding, much of which is donated by Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans clubs The National Wild Turkey Federation also is a player, as is, among others, the St Cloud VA medical center

Critical to this mix are volunteers, and Hunter, a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer who was at the Camp Ripley hunt on her own time, is among those who each year raises a hand

"My dad was in the military, his dad was in the military and two of my brothers were in the military,'' she said "This is my way of honoring everyone who has served''

A Marine for four years, Falknor signed up for the National Guard after being discharged and later served 10 years of active duty in the Army In 2004, he suffered a debilitating stroke Now he's in a wheelchair, his left arm doesn't work very well and he's legally blind in one eye

He and Hunter met eight years ago when she was assigned to guide him at Ripley

"When I first heard the name 'Sam Hunter,' I thought, 'Oh, great, I got a butt-crack plumber for a guide,' '' Falknor said, laughing "But we've been friends ever since And I got a turkey that first year with her''

Passionate about the field sports, Hunter has trekked widely chasing turkeys and other game This fall, for example, she'll be in Alaska, hunting sheep

But she has an equal interest in helping people with physical challenges, and she regularly volunteers with Midwest Outdoors Unlimited (MOU), a group whose mission is just that

Through MOU, she guided Falknor on a successful elk hunt recently at a high-fence operation in northern Minnesota
"When Sam takes me hunting, I refer to it as 'the blonde leading the blind,' '' Falknor said

Maybe But Erie, the hunt organizer, is thankful every day not only for the service of veterans but also for those who happily give their time and share their expertise at Camp Ripley each fall to bring gobblers close to hunters' blinds

That didn't happen the other morning for Hunter and Falknor, who nonetheless, along with Will Falknor, passed the morning in good cheer, happy enough just to be on site

"When you have a stroke or other illness,'' Randy Falknor said, "there's a tendency to pull in and not push yourself That's the strength of these outings They push you and get you out with like-minded people They keep you energized
"These people, all of them here, are fabulous''

Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
Updated: May 5, 2013 - 12:05 AM
Article source
http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/206116841.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y&refer=y



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.



Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Article archive
 
top