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Minnesota National Guard
Nat'l Guardswoman Makes Difficult Choice To Leave Newborn For Kuwait

CAB family MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)- The holiday season is a time when many families come together But this year, thousands of families will have to celebrate a world apart

There are more than 13,000 soldiers and airmen in the Minnesota National Guard About 450 of them are currently deployed

Guy Antoine is currently on double duty, being both mom and dad to his 1-year-old son Victor Last year, as he and his wife, Captain Kelly Francis, were telling friends she was pregnant, they were told her unit was deploying

The Minnesota National Guard gave her the choice to get out of her deployment, but Francis knew what she wanted to do

"We talked it over for a few months, but ultimately decided that Kelly wanted to serve her country," said Antoine

Antoine understood that tough decision, he served 18 months in Iraq a decade ago with the New Jersey National Guard

With pride-filled tears, Kelly kissed her husband and new baby and went to Kuwait

"Because I have such a good support system, it hasn't been as hard as I think it could have been," Antoine said

Francis' mom is proud of her daughter, but misses her, too She choked up while explaining she didn't want her daughter to deploy, but acknowledged Francis has never been happier

Grandparents and friends make juggling work and a baby easier Though their family is apart, Francis is still a part of their lives Technology lets her be a soldier and mom while she's 6,000 miles away

The family is able to video-chat several times a week Victor loves it -- his grasp on the tablet is proof he knows the lady on the screen is special

"That was one of our biggest concerns before she left was that he wouldn't know who she was when she came back," Antoine said

Francis said since her son is younger, it has made deployment easier for her knowing he's too young to remember she's gone and won't be back for several months

The timing of Kelly's deployment is difficult but do-able, milestones have come and gone like their first anniversary, Victor's first birthday and now their first Christmas But the family knows Francis will be home from Kuwait next year and they can make up for lost time

"This has been difficult Deployment is difficult," Francis said "But when you walk out on the street and people walk up and shake your hand, and they say, 'Thank you for your service,' this is why, this right here"

"My husband is a wonderful father and every time I call and I see what a great job he's doing with Victor, I feel better about everything," Francis said

Francis' unit is scheduled to return from overseas next spring

One way to say thank you to local service members is to support the Minnesota Military Family Foundation It provides financial assistance to families serving our country You'll find ways to help at WCCOcom/AccomplishMN

December 23, 2014
WCCO CBS Minnesota
Article source
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/12/23/natl-guardswoman-makes-difficult-choice-to-leave-newborn-for-kuwait/



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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.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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