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Minnesota National Guard
Keeping Camp Ripley's 53,000 acres safe no small task

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- As calls come in on the radio and people walk in the front door, Spc Sean Flahave, a range specialist for the Minnesota National Guard's Training Support Unit, keeps busy from the moment he arrives to the time he leaves

While Spc Flahave runs through the slides of his power-point presentation on range safety, the partially-filled room of Soldiers listens carefully for all pertinent information that will be helpful to their unit With the occasional hand rising in the air for a question, Flahave answers any discrepancies the Soldiers have Covering every topic from barricaded roads to running a safe ammunition point, he ensures that the briefed Soldiers have everything they will need to operate a safe and efficient range in the following days

Flahave is passionate about his job as a range specialist When it comes down to it, he said, it is his job to ensure that units are operating the ranges with care There is a tremendous amount of attention to detail that must be taken in order to minimize the risk of a Soldier being injured

Camp Ripley Range Control runs 24-hour operations in order to keep up with the increased range use in the summer During these times of increased visits, he averages three to four safety briefs a day

"One of the best things about my job is that I get to interact with different ranks, all the while seeing what they know and [what they] think," Flahave explains

The range control staff at Camp Ripley consists of a great bunch of Soldiers, he said If someone asks them a question they don't know the answer to, they will pull all their resources together to ensure they leave no question unanswered

Flahave's father, Timothy Flahave, the Sgt Maj for the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armored Regiment, has spent his time in the Minnesota National Guard as a tanker He has passed on his fondness of tanks to his son which keeps him excited to perform safety inspections on exercises whenever tanks are operating in East Range

The corner of Flahave's mouth starts to curl into a smile as he talks about Bradleys and other tanks With a full smile now covering his face, he continues to brief on the safety measures that need to be taken while down range

1st Lt Julian M Plamann, the officer-in-charge at the M-4 Rifle Qualification Range, says, "The range control safety briefing ensures that all personnel operating the range are on the same page as Range Control to ensure all precautions are being taken to maintain a safe range for all shooters"

Spc Flahave focuses on the point of "safety first" to the Soldiers in his brief It is everyone's job to identify any unsafe act and correct it no matter what rank while still retaining your military bearing

"I enjoy everything from bridging operations on the Mississippi River to mortar fire, and learning all the different components from different weapons systems," says Spc Flahave "It all fascinates me with how sufficient and proficient the Minnesota National Guard is" The range is one of the places that all the Minnesota National Guard's moving parts come together and synchronize with each other

Throughout his brief, Flahave emphasizes the importance of not becoming complacent on the range He says, "Complacency leads to injuries and even though someone wants to speed up the process, you still must hit all of the main points and make it stick into the units heads to keep them safe"

As a range specialist, Flahave has to continuously keep up to date on the new policies because they are changing from day-to-day in order to keep everyone down range safe To expedite the process of conducting an exercise down range, paperwork is the most common change to Camp Ripley Range Control policies, he said

"Policies change day in and day out It is the little things that we find that may lead to a safety violation, injury or accident that we catch in time to change the policy," said Flahave Flahave ends his brief with answering any remaining questions from the Soldiers to ensure they are all as prepared as possible for their time out on the range

Spc Sean Flahave has been working at Camp Ripley Training Center's Range Control as a range specialist since March of 2010 Not a day passes where he regrets accepting his current position there

"I love dealing with the troops, I love interacting with different people, and I love learning all the things they know," said Flahave "This is the best job in the world"

August 11, 2014
by Spc William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

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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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