| 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 Guardsman recognized for cultural influence and leadership
Posted: 2016-05-19 09:08 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For his work to promote diversity and build community relationships, Minnesota National Guard Warrant Officer Candidate Alan Lee received the Federal Asian Pacific American Council's Military Meritorious Service Award in Orlando, Fla., May 10, 2016. He was also recognized with a resolution in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives, May 18.
"To be selected as one out of 12 in the entire nation, I'm really honored," said Lee. "I'm still speechless about it, but I'm truly humbled for it. I don't even believe that I'm deserving of it, I just feel like I'm doing something for the community and for the National Guard."
Lee, whose parents were sponsored to come to America in 1980 as Laotian refugees in Thailand, was born in California and moved to Minnesota in 1990 to be with the rest of his large, extended family. Growing up, Lee heard stories about his grandfather and uncle serving in the Vietnam War which motivated him to want to serve as well. He enlisted at the age of 17 when he was a junior in high school.
Minnesota National Guard aviators respond to wildfires in northern Minnesota
Posted: 2016-05-18 09:21 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Helicopter crews of the Minnesota National Guard joined firefighters May 6-9, 2016, in northern Minnesota to battle wildfires.
In response to requests made by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Governor Mark Dayton authorized the use of four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and support personnel to assist in suppression of wildfires across the Iron Range in northern Minnesota.
"Our mission was to provide aviation support to the wildfire suppression missions which assisted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources," said Maj. Jeremy Degier, aviation duty officer.
Planning and Execution: Keys to a Good Deployment
Posted: 2016-05-16 10:36 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - In early April 2016, the 148th Fighter Wing deployed approximately 300 Airmen and about a dozen F-16's to Osan Air Base, Korea as part of a Theater Security Package (TSP). TSP's have been an integral part of the U.S. Pacific Air Command's force posture since 2004. TSP deployments are routine and not due to any specific threat in the region and usually last three to four months. So, what does it take to make a deployment like this happen?
"From a Logistical Readiness Squadron (LRS) perspective, I would break a deployment into two phases; planning and execution," said Maj. Darin Phillips, 148th Fighter Wing Installation Deployment Officer.
During the planning phase personnel are trained according to the deployment reporting instructions of that theater, to include medical requirements and other personal qualifications. On the cargo side, Unit Deployment Managers (UDMs) and increment monitors work to build their cargo, so load plans can be submitted to get airlift for both equipment and personnel.
133rd Airlift Wing Welcomes New Commander
Posted: 2016-05-13 10:45 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - During a change of command ceremony, April 16, 2016, at the 133rd Airlift Wing's South Hangar, Col. Daniel E. Gabrielli took charge of the 133rd Airlift Wing from the outgoing commander, Col. James T. Johnson.
The military tradition of passing the unit guidon from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander was carried out with prestige by the presiding officer, Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Air, with the assistance of Command Chief Master Sgt. Paul Kessler. Members of the wing, past and present, as well as friends and family filled the entire hangar to witness the event and to pass on well-wishes to both men.
"To all of you who make up the collective 133rd Airlift Wing, you are the heart and soul of the machine which accomplishes the mission on a day-to-day basis," said Gabrielli during his address to the Airmen. "My challenge to you all as well as myself, is to keep our focus simple. Be the best you can be and continually ask yourself - are you as ready as you can possibly be to execute your wartime mission?"