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Minnesota National Guard
From Mexico to Minnesota, Guardsman finds a new home

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- For one Minnesota National Guard Soldier, it was a meandering series of events that brought him from working nightclubs in Mexico City to chasing family and career obligations around the Midwest before finally becoming a full-time member of the Minnesota National Guard

With the goals of finishing his education and starting a family, Staff Sgt Cesar Garcia, the medical readiness non-commissioned officer for the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, left his home country in 2000 He landed in Minnesota, where he attended Southwest Minnesota State University and earned his degree in communications, specializing in radio and television He then spent the next four years working with KARE11 in Golden Valley and CBS2 in Chicago, Ill, raising three kids along the way Once those stints in the television business ended, however, Garcia faced the reality that a career shift was on the horizon

Turning his career path on its head, Garcia committed himself to becoming a firefighter in Chicago By excelling throughout the application process, Garcia sat in the top five percent of his class of fellow applicants However, when veteran's preference points came down, Garcia just missed the cut

"I thought, 'what am I missing?'" Garcia said "Whatever traits that were getting those vets jobs, I wanted"

And with that, Garcia began taking a serious look at the Minnesota National Guard After making his decision, he chose to mirror his parents' careers - his father, a doctor, and his mother, a nurse, in Mexico City - by becoming a combat medic

Again, Garcia pushed himself and, after three years working in the Minnesota National Guard's Office of the State Surgeon, he submitted an application packet, and was eventually selected for, a medical readiness NCO, Active Guard/Reserve position with the 34th CAB For most people, the challenge of fighting for a job would have ended there, but as a Hispanic-American, Garcia had to continually fight the perception that he had been legitimately offered the job

"I believe in the best man for the job, which is why I got the job I have today," Garcia said "But there are people who think I'm here to meet diversity goals, and I feel the need to prove that I was selected because of my merits"

For Garcia, those merits include embracing his heritage He cited several examples of how being a Spanish-speaking Soldier has benefitted his unit, including in Croatia, where the similarities between the Italian-speaking Croatians and Garcia's Spanish allowed the two sides to understand one another And, in combat medic school, where the Spanish language's Latin roots helped Garcia understand derivative medical terms, he was able to grasp concepts more quickly and help his classmates to do the same

Garcia is now a United States citizen, and doesn't plan on returning to Mexico permanently anytime soon, but he does try to visit at least once a year to see family and friends For now he is concentrating on his family here in Minnesota, and believes he made the right career choice and shares that belief with others

"I encourage people to join the Guard," he said "It's one of the most diverse places to work"

March 4, 2014
by Sgt. 1st Class Ashlee Lolkus and Staff Sgt Patrick Loch
34th Infantry Division Public Affairs

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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.

In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.

Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.

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