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Minnesota National Guard
First Female Takes Command of Previously All-Male Unit

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- "I'm just another Soldier; it doesn't matter that I'm a female," said Capt Tara Robertson

Robertson's soft-spoken words were amplified by her appointment to command an all-male combat engineer unit

On September 14, the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, a Minnesota Army National Guard unit based in Litchfield, not only received its first female commander, but it also officially cased its colors, signifying its separation from the 682nd Engineer Battalion With new colors and new leadership, the 849th has been restructured into Company B, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division

"I've always dreamed of going to this unit because it's a combat engineer unit," said Robertson"They get to do all of the things that I consider fun as an engineering officer; with blowing stuff up and route clearance I've always wanted to get into that unit but it was always closed to females"

In January 24, 2013, the US military removed its ban on women serving in combat roles, and a July 23, 2014 Army Directive allowed the assignment of females into previously closed units That ban, however, did not keep female Soldiers like Robertson from working and serving in combat operations capacities in the past decade of conflict

In 2011-2012, Robertson was deployed to a remote outpost in Afghanistan where she was the only female Soldier Initially, the other Soldiers at the outpost were not keen on Robertson's presence

"[But] once they saw that I was just like them and didn't require any special treatment or anything like that, they were fine," said Robertson

In an ironic twist, her male counterparts envied the fact that Robertson had the opportunity to go on many more missions than they did "Close to 280 missions," she recounts "And a lot of foot patrols"

Now Robertson has new responsibilities to bear as a company commander and also as a role model

"It's not something people choose to do necessarily," she said "I never chose to [be a role model] But you realize you're in that role and you have to live up to those types of standards You realize other people are watching you and you can set an example by leading, and not only people in the military"

Thankfully, with her professional demeanor and strong work ethic, Robertson is leading Soldiers, with no hesitation or reticence to embrace her duty

"I think it's challenging for any new commander coming into the role," Robertson admits "It's all in your character You have to prove yourself no matter what and show people what you're capable of doing"

September 18, 2014
by Sgt Linsey Williams
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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