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Minnesota National Guard
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

Photo gallery

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.





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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.



Forging a path to career success

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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