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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 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."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

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