| 133rd Airlift Wing members return from Afghanistan
Family, friends and fellow Airmen gathered at the 133rd Airlift Wing to welcome home Airmen from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan Saturday, Feb.18, Wednesday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 23.
Approximately 80 Airmen returned home after providing C-130 airlift support in Afghanistan since January 2007.
While deployed, 133 AW members partnered with Peoria, Ill. to complete the airlift mission. "We never worked with Peoria before, so it was a unique situation, they are a good bunch of people, I would probably go anywhere with them," said Senior Master Sgt. Danny Dahms, flight line pro super, 133AW Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
This is Senior Master Sgt. Dahms third deployment and while in Afghanistan he supervised 42 Airmen who worked the evening shift from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week.
"Troop moral was really good," said Master Sgt. Dahms. "If you weren't working, you were sleeping."
This deployment was unique because Airmen were stationed in their area of operations. The 133AW members lived in theatre, which is considered inside the box, rather than residing outside the box and then flying missions into theater, explained Maj. Jeff Wong, pilot with the 109th Airlift Squadron.
While aircrews were executing airdrop missions overseas, they used the newest global positioning technology called Joint Precision Airdrop System that allows cargo bundles dropped from C-130s to steer themselves to drop zones.
"JPADS is a pretty remarkable system," said Maj. Wong. "We were able to airdrop supplies from about 17,000 feet and still able to land it within a 100 yards of where the Army asked for it."
Although there was not a lot of personal time in between missions, Maj. Wong managed to continue his hobby of ice hockey through email.
Maj. Wong is an assistant hockey coach for White Bear Lake Peewees and has been coaching the same age group for five years. While in Afghanistan, kids would email game summaries after each game to keep him informed of their performance.
When Maj. Wong was deployed, the White Bear Lake Peewee Hockey Team did not forget about his discipline on the ice.
"He is a definite influence on everyone, he is guy who knows how to enforce discipline," said Tommy Tusa, 13, White Bear Lake Peewee Black Hockey Team player. "Jeff keeps everyone in line for not screwing around when it's important."
"I think discipline is an important part of the game and it's an important part of life," said Maj. Wong. "They are 12-year-old kids.and if you can teach them something about life that they will take away, that is probably more important in the long run."
About one week before Maj. Wong deployed, the hockey team gave him a farewell hockey stick salute on the ice and upon his return on Feb. 18, 13 players saluted him as he walked off the aircraft.
After the initial reunion with family and friends, all returning members were in-processed and then briefed for the first time about the Minnesota Air National Guard Reintegration Program.
The reintegration program is to help returning troops and their families with successful transition back to family, friends, society and employment after a deployment.
The new program is structured in three phases. The first phase includes an extensive briefing from professional experts and state agencies 30-days after their return. Phase two includes a mailer providing critical information to members and families if challenges arise after the 30-day point. The third phase is scheduled between the 90 to 120-day point after returning and will enable the medical group to perform the mandatory post-deployment health reassessment. Additionally, the Mission Support Flight will invite other agencies from outside and around the wing to participate in supporting the returning members and their families.
"We (members in Mission Support Flight) are not the subject matter experts," said 1st Lt. Jason Hull, Readiness Management Officer, 133rd Mission Support Flight. "We guide people to the agencies to assist with any problems."
The three-phased process allows returning members and their families to hear about a variety of programs and helps members better remember the available services, Lt. Hull explained.
Now that the first rotation of 80 Airmen completed their mission in Afghanistan, another large group will report to Bagram Airfield in April. At this time, both Minnesota National Guard and Illinois members will work together again to execute the mission overseas.
Story by 1st Lt Sheree Savage,
Minnesota Air National Guard Public Affairs
||133rd Airlift Wing returns from Afghanistan
The final group from the 133rd Airlift Wing return from their tour in Afghanistan.
||133rd Airlift Wing returns from Afghanistan
Family and friends welcome home a safe return of Airmen from Afghanistan to the 133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul.
||133rd Airlift Wing returns from Afghanistan
The first of three groups from the 133rd Airlift Wing return from their tour in Afghanistan.
Bearcats toast mission success
Posted: 2014-10-23 12:31 PM
MAHNOMEN, Minn.- Soldiers, families and friends of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment attended the unit's annual Bearcat Dinner, October 18, 2014.
The dinner, a tradition for the battalion, celebrated the proud lineages of the unit, as well as highlighted the accomplishments they have made over the past year.
"We have devoted a great deal of effort to pay attention to our unit readiness," said Sgt. 1st Class Shane Haugen, admin NCO for the battalion.
114th Transportation Company Welcome Home Ceremony
Posted: 2014-10-22 03:53 PM
CHISHOLM, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard's Chisholm-based 114th Transportation Company is scheduled to hold their 30-day reintegration event and welcome home ceremony Saturday at Chisholm High School after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
"A priority of the Minnesota National Guard is to improve the wellness and resiliency of service members and their family members," said Army Capt. Ryan R. Koester, 114th Transportation Company Commander.
Minnesota Military Radio talks Veterans Voices, sequestration
Posted: 2014-10-22 09:00 AM
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Humanities Center honored 30 Minnesota Veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with the 2014 Veterans' Voices awards, September 11, 2014. Two of these veterans - Dennis Schulstad, an Air Force veteran and retired brigadier general, and Capt. Amber Manke, a current member of the Minnesota Army National Guard - recently spoke about their community involvement on Minnesota Military Radio.
The Minnesota Humanity Center's veterans voices program draws on the power of humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of veterans. It empowers Minnesota veterans to speak in their own voices through plays, art, discussion groups and the veterans voices award.
Also this week on Minnesota Military Radio, Col. (Ret.) Don Kerr warned listeners of the coming effects on the Minnesota National Guard due to congressional gridlock. Kerr, the president of the Vessey Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, reminded listeners that the coming automatic budget cut, known as sequestration, has returned and will mean a loss of about 80,000 Soldiers across the Army nationwide.
1/34th Brigade Special Troop Battalion Reorganizes; The Army of 2020
Posted: 2014-10-18 10:31 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34th ABCT) completed its official reorganization of the 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (1/34th BSTB) to the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion (334th BEB), Oct. 18, 2014.
"This unit reorganization lays the groundwork for meeting the Army's 2020 vision in which brigades are self-contained combined arms formations," said Col. Robert Intress, 1/34th ABCT Commander.
133rd Airlift Wing Welcomes home Security Forces Squadron members from deployment
Posted: 2014-10-16 09:34 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn.- Thirteen airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron are scheduled to return Friday to Minnesota following a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia.
"During this deployment, the 133rd airmen melded with their active duty counterparts and utilized their citizen-airmen experiences and training to help fight the war on terrorism in an overseas environment," said Col. Terrance Sieben, the security forces squadron commander.
MPD Sgt. Blackwell: 'We're human, we have hearts, we care about people'
Posted: 2014-10-15 08:42 AM
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.(KMSP)- Talking with Minneapolis police Sgt. Katie Blackwell, it's clear she truly cares about her job and the people who live and work in the first precinct.When a man was sexually assaulting women in Ramp C downtown last week Sgt. Blackwell took it personally, making his arrest a top priority. The suspect was in custody within 48 hours.
"We just won't tolerate predators walking through our city and our communities, so yeah, I took it pretty personally," Sgt. Blackwell said.
To understand why she cares so much, one has to know where she's coming from, and it's quite a story. She grew up one of 10 kids in northeast Minneapolis, something Sgt. Blackwell says helps her connect with her community.