/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Retiring White Bear Lake soldier fostered cooperation, not combat

Minnesota National Guard Col Eric Ahlness, who retires from the Minnesota Army National Guard at the end of June, has been a military man for 28 years He has been deployed to Afghanistan and Bosnia, but the highlights of his career have had nothing to do with combat

Rather, Ahlness has worked for agricultural improvements and community cooperation, with the idea that people with a reliable food supply, successful businesses and good relationships with neighbors are likely to create a more stable country

This took a light touch, including the willingness to understand people's long-standing points of view

"Forcing someone to do something doesn't have the lasting impact of convincing someone to do something -- or having them come to it on their own," he said

Now, the skills he learned in his military career will be put to use in civilian life, as the leader for diversity in North America for Cargill

When Ahlness was serving in Bosnia in 2003-2004, Bosniaks and Serbs had an uneasy post-war relationship To encourage them to trust one another, Ahlness and his staff introduced the idea of a fire department that incorporated members from both backgrounds

"People would see Serbians coming to Bosniak houses and putting their lives on the line to save people," he said

When Ahlness was in Afghanistan in 2012, he led an agribusiness development team that included a dozen military people hand-picked for their civilian knowledge in areas such as soil and irrigation -- even beekeeping Encouraging the Afghan farmers to accept the experts' advice about growing pomegranates, almonds and apricots required cultural awareness and sensitivity, Ahlness said

Ahlness, 50, lives in White Bear Lake with his wife, Lori Ahlness, a retired military officer who has served in the Marine Corps Reserve and the Minnesota Army National Guard The couple has one daughter, Ellen, 18, a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato

"Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be in the Army," Ahlness said He grew up in Windom, Minn, and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history and geography and a master's degree in political science He received a second master's degree from the US Army War College and was a Humphrey Fellow at the University of Minnesota

His education and military experience gave him sterling credentials when he began to consider a civilian job, said Mike Etzel, sales vice president of Cargill, the global agribusiness company headquartered in Wayzata, Minn

Etzel was Ahlness' mentor through the nonprofit American Corporate Partners program, created to help military personnel transition into civilian careers

"What makes us successful is that we help them convert military resumes into civilian-speak," Etzel said The program also helps military individuals identify companies with cultures and value systems that ring true to them

Etzel said he saw that Ahlness had developed strengths that would transfer well to business, such as planning and leadership

The skill set for Ahlness' new job was in part developed in his last Minnesota National Guard post as the diversity and inclusion director

"The face of Minnesota is changing," he said, and it's important for members of the National Guard to "reflect the population that we're serving They see we have people who look like them coming to help"

Debra O'Connor can be reached at 651-228-5453 Follow her at twitter.com/DebOConnorPP

IF YOU GO
A celebration honoring Minnesota Army National Guard Col Eric Ahlness on his retirement will be from 4 pm to 5 pm Sunday at American Legion Post 39, 2678 Seventh Ave E, North St Paul

By Debra O'Connor
doconnor@pioneerpress.com

Posted: 06/06/2014 12:01:00 AM CDT
Article source
http://www.twincities.com/News/ci_25914422/Retiring-White-Bear-Lake-soldier-fostered



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.



Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Article archive
 
top