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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 Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



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Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
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"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



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

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"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
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"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.



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