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Minnesota National Guard
We are strong, but not invincible

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- It's probably a cystwas the thought running through my head as I conducted my self-breast exam No worries, I've had them before I'm busy with work, my family and my involvement with the VFW

Six months pass I'm thinking about the lump in my breast and now, I have started to worry I could be one in eight One of eight women diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime Why have I waited so long to have this lump checked out?

It's test day and the technician is quiet as she conducts an ultrasound on the lump following the mammogram I feel my breath catch in my throat as the doctor walks into the room "You're clear It's only a cyst" I breathe again and think of the women who haven't been as fortunate to hear those words

I know three women with ties to the Minnesota National Guard whose lives have been forever changed by breast cancer Their stories inspired the Pink Tank Project The goal of the Pink Tank Project is to build breast cancer awareness for all women whether they wear the uniform or not The Pink Tank Project is a promise - a promise to yourself to conduct monthly self-breast exams and have mammograms as recommended by your health care provider Liking the Pink Tank Project on Facebook ensures you receive monthly reminders to conduct self breast exams

Why a tank? Like a tank, we are strong, but not invincible

Sgt Cassie Mecuk, a military human resource specialist, is battling breast cancer for the third time She is 28-years-old and the mother of a 7-year-old daughter Her cancer has metastasized, yet she isn't living life as if there is an expiration date The tattoo on her forearm says it all, Stay Strong As she reflects, "God gives you what you can handle and I believe that, because I am equipped to deal with this I feel the Guard has helped shape me for this and prepare me to be mentally tough"

Sgt. 1st Class Brenda Woods is a five-year breast cancer survivor and her mother is currently being treated for the same disease She said, "When I found out I had breast cancer, right away I decided that this was not going to do me This is not my time"

"The hardest part is not having her here" Korleen is the daughter of Iraq War veteran, Sgt Brenda Geise Brenda lost her fight with breast cancer in 2011 when it came back for a second time Her daughter would give anything to have her back, but her attitude is very much like her mother's She is living life to the fullest and is able to find the positive even in the tough moments

As each woman tells their story, I feel lucky to know these strong women Each chose a different way to combat the disease Korleen's mother chose not to seek chemotherapy and radiation the second time so as to ensure a better quality of life for her last days Yet, it is apparent that breast cancer did impact each woman in the same way It brought forward what was important in their life - family

In the military, service members are responsible for providing oversight for their "battle buddies" Women band together and form support networks to make it through the rigors of combat Breast cancer is no different We must commit to our ethos of "never leaving a fallen comrade" and we must "never quit" until all women know the importance of doing regular self checks, getting mammograms and following up on early detection

Become a member of the Pink Tank Project by liking the Pink Tank Project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pinktankproject Make the promise, today Make the promise to yourself

October 1, 2013
by Maj Kristen L Auge
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



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.



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