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Minnesota National Guard
Army Aviator reflects on Government Shutdown

Minnesota National Guard Capt Shannon Gregory, Operations Officer for the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, watches a UH-60 Black Hawk get ready to depart, a welcomed sight after not flying for 22 days

The government shutdown furloughed most personnel at the Army Aviation Support Facility for nearly three weeks From fuelers to flight operations personnel, it takes six to eight additional technicians to support a Black Hawk in flight and two hours of maintenance once it is on the ground With ten UH-60 Black Hawks and 1 C-12 Huron fixed-wing aircraft in the hanger, the layoffs affected many people

"It's tough to tell someone not to come in to work and then get them motivated again," said Gregory In addition to the full time personnel, contacting all of the traditional Soldiers when drill was cancelled was a disheartening experience

Each National Guard pilot has to fly several hours every month under varying conditions like night vision goggles and instrument flying, to maintain their annual requirements With the impending government shutdown, military leaders had the foresight to maximize flying hours prior to the shutdown But lost time is time that can't be made up

"A month after the government shutdown, we are 65-70 percent below where we should be" said Gregory An aviator since 2000, he has seen his share of challenges He led Soldiers in a combat zone, he landed his aircraft on a Navy Destroyer, but dealing with government furloughs of employees, was a challenge he could not fly his way out of

Despite the layoffs, the Minnesota National Guard was still ready to fly into action in the event of a state activation "We were prepared for emergencies with state funding, to help the citizens of Minnesota if those needs arose," said Gregory

Nov 1, 2013
Story and photos by Russ Gamache
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs Intern



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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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