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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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Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

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Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
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The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

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