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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard holds first Pride month celebration

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- The Minnesota National Guard celebrated LGBT Pride Month with a presentation discussing diversity and equality in the current military climate, June 8, 2014 The discussion was led by Rebecca Waggoner, Anti-Violence Program Director for OutFront Minnesota Topics included LGBT language, the current climate for LGBT service members and the next steps moving forward

OutFront Minnesota's mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination

"This isn't a morality issue This is a making a better military issue" said Waggoner With the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on January 28, 2011, Service members were no longer subjected to administrative separation based solely on their sexual orientation Also, since the repeal, military members and retirees with same-sex partners are now qualified for housing, medical and dental benefits

Col John Kolb, Minnesota National Guard Chief of Staff, expressed the importance of discussing diversity and inclusion in today's military

"This is a really important day and we have an opportunity now to look at inclusion," Kolb said "Twenty-seven years ago, I never imagined that I would have a commander, at the Adjutant General level, saying that this is a definite priority across the state"

Same-sex marriage has only been legalized in Minnesota since August 1, 2013 All of the policy change surrounding Service member's sexual orientation has happened in less than three years This rapid shift in military climate does require educating military members with events like today's celebration of LGBT Pride Month "I know many gay and lesbian Soldiers that I've served with over parts of my career," stated Kolb "They were tremendous Soldiers, they served proudly, but they were stifled by a policy that was unfair to their individuality"

In the end, a Service member is a Service member, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation

"We are committed to fostering an environment that truly represents the demographics of the communities in which we serve," said Maj. Gen. Richard C Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General "We must reflect those whom we lead, serve and protect"

June 9, 2014
by Sgt Dajon Ferrell
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

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.

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