| 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, Feb18, 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 pm to 1 am, 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 kidsand 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.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.