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Minnesota National Guard
Soldier surprises family as Scuba Claus

Minnesota National Guard BLOOMINGTON, Minn- A Minnesota National Guardsman made a huge splash on his return from a deployment to Afghanistan when he surprised his children as Scuba Claus at the Mall of America's Sea Life Aquarium, Dec 22 1st Lt Nick Aldrich, executive officer for the 850th Horizontal Engineer Company, returned to Minnesota with his unit just in time to celebrate Christmas with his family

"It's huge," said Aldrich "The entire time we've been gone, it's all you think about To be able to come back before Christmas to see my kids and my wife, it's amazing"

Aldrich and his wife, Britta, have four children: Teagan, 8; Jace, 6; Solveij, 3 and Esmae, 7 months Esmae was born three months into the deployment and Aldridge saw and held her for the first time at the Aquarium

As soon as the unit's flight landed at the airport, Aldridge was whisked away to the Mall of America for the reunion with his family which was orchestrated by Sea Life Aquarium The family was driven separately to the aquarium where the children thought they were going to see Scuba Claus

Once at the Aquarium, Aldrich was suited up into a wetsuit and Santa costume and brought into the tank to swim with the fishes and sharks When the children were underneath, Aldrich held up a sign that said, "Hello from Scuba Claus," on one side One the other side it said, "And a special hello to Britta, Teagan, Jace, Solveij and Esmae! Hi! It's Dad! I'm Home!"

The oldest, Teagan, read the sign out loud and her face lit up when she realized what she was reading and told her siblings the news The children were then reunited with their dad on top of the tank for a big, wet hug

"They're going to remember this their whole life," said Aldrich "They've also dedicated a lot of this year to service as well I've been over there with the Army, but they've been here waiting for me and wanting me to be home but I couldn't so this is a great reward for them to be able to close out the deployment"

The 850th Horizontal Engineer Company is based in Cambridge, Minn, and Soldiers from the unit conducted repairs and improvements to convoy and supply routes in Afghanistan, cleared mine fields, improved drainage, deconstructed non-essential bases and built a resiliency center, a gym and multiple guard towers

"I feel blessed that I'm able to do this here today," said Aldrich "I feel blessed that everyone in my company made it home safe I'm blessed that my family is going to be here and we're going to be able to be together now"

The Aldrich will spend the Christmas holiday spending time with family and catching up on lost time

"It was so special and such a blessing to be able to do this," said Britta Aldrich "It's exciting enough to have him come home after being gone so long, but then to be able to do it in such a fun way was great It's everything that you would wish for to have your husband come home for Christmas"

December 22, 2013
by Sgt. 1st Class Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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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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Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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