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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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Minnesota National Guard to highlight diversity and leadership development at Women's Leadership Forum

Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.- Nearly 650 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to attend the Minnesota National Guard's third annual Women's Leadership Forum at the 3M Corporate Headquarters Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

"The Minnesota National Guard continues to diversify our force and grow strong leaders," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard. "Strong leaders are able to self-manage and channel emotions to produce desired behaviors and results."

The forum is part of an overall effort to promote an inclusive culture, diversify the organization, grow strong leaders and provide professional leadership development for both women and men. The topics will focus on emotional intelligence, leadership, high performing teams and creating a championship culture.



Minnesota Guardsmen tasked for support to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Posted: 2017-09-11  02:20 PM
133 AW FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. Six Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard also departed this morning to support relief efforts.

"I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide assistance in Hurricane Irma response and relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I encourage all Minnesotans who are able to contribute to qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma in any way we are able."

The 41 Airmen come from the 133rd Airlift Wing based in St. Paul and have a variety of skillsets. Fourteen of the Airmen are with the unit's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and specially trained in emergency medical evacuations. They are currently on standby at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois where they will support potential missions in the Caribbean or Southern United States. The remaining personnel comprised of Airlift Control Flight, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces, arrived today at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will assist in recovery operations. The Airmen can support airports with skills and equipment to re-establish operations after disasters, secure aircraft and load and unload equipment.



Minnesota National Guard to send aviation assets to support Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 2017-09-01  10:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The soldiers will depart today from St. Cloud via CH-47 chinook helicopters to conduct aviation operations in Texas.

"I am glad that Minnesota will be able to assist the victims of the terrible tragedy in Texas, with 11 Minnesota National Guard soldiers accompanying two Chinook helicopters to join in relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota soldiers, who will travel to Texas to provide this critical relief. I encourage all Minnesotans, who are able, to donate to the qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist in any way we can."

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is an Army National Guard unit that supports disaster response operations by providing aviation capabilities - both UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.



'Highly Effective:' 148th Fighter Wing Excels

Posted: 2017-08-24  07:36 AM
148th FW DULUTH, Minn. - For four days in early August, a team of inspectors from the Air Combat Command's Inspector General team (ACC/IG) inspected, evaluated, verified and validated the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing (148FW) in Duluth.

The results were impressive.

From Thursday, Aug. 3rd to Monday, Aug. 7th, during the course of the 148FW's August Drill Weekend, nearly 50 inspectors flew up to northern Minnesota to take a closer look at the 148FW during a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI).

Their white IG badges conspicuously dangling around their necks, the inspectors spoke at length with the 148FW Airmen, asking them about their training plans, and their file plans, their checklists and their ability to accomplish their given mission. Documents were reviewed, reports were validated and equipment was inventoried. The inspection was as thorough as it was exhaustive.



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