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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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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
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Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
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Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
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Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.



Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.



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