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Minnesota National Guard
Female Soldier Answers Call to Fire

2LT Andrea Peterson ST PAUL, Minn- When 2nd Lt Andrea Petersen joined the Minnesota National Guard as an officer candidate in 2011, her goals were slightly less lofty than breaking new ground in a military occupation that was previously off limits to female Soldiers

"I wanted to become a better leader, to strengthen myself both physically and mentally," Petersen said "I felt that being an officer would present challenges I wouldn't otherwise experience, which was exciting to me"

It wouldn't be until Phase II of Officer Candidate School, however, that Petersen got the idea to push herself even further

"One of my classmates, who had came to OCS after being a sergeant in a field artillery unit, arranged a training experience to view a live fire exercise," said Petersen "I think this really sealed the deal on which branch I wanted to be a part of"

The camaraderie and excitement Petersen felt as gunnery crews fired artillery rounds downrange was unlike anything she had experienced And with the Department of Defense having just rescinded the Ground Combat Exclusion Rule, which barred female Soldiers from combat units, Petersen would be able to pursue her new passion

"It was everything I wanted, and it was a chance to step out of my comfort zone even more," Petersen said

Her standout performance throughout OCS led to direct recommendations from her leadership to re-branch into one of the Army's most challenging fields After OCS, she would be one of five female Soldiers accepted into a class of 140 young officers attempting to complete the Army's Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill, Okla

"It was really intense, long days and very exhausting," Petersen said of the training "It is so involved, and there is so much to learn with all the calculations and variables needed to fire artillery safely and effectively"

After five months of intensive training, Petersen graduated in May 2014 Nearly 10 percent of the students didn't complete the school, but Petersen and the other four females all did

Her first assignment after receiving her field artillery qualifications would be as a Fire Direction Officer in Battery A, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery - a unit that had never had a female Soldier serve in this kind of leadership role Petersen was well aware that earning her Soldiers' respect and performing her duties at a high level would be a challenge, albeit one that was becoming less of a burden

"As a female, I joined knowing that I would be in the minority," Petersen said "Knowing that would be the normal for me, however, made it less difficult to transition to a mostly-male unit

"The real challenge now is that I'm no longer in training," Petersen continued "I'm an officer, and I don't have the experience that long-time members of this unit have I'm driven in that I don't want to let anyone down, and Soldiers in my unit know that I'm here to learn"

Currently Petersen is developing her leadership skills as a platoon leader in the battery's maintenance platoon while preparing to serve as the battalion's Fire Direction Officer for an upcoming National Training Center rotation in June at Fort Irwin, Calif

"My experience with the unit has been very positive," Petersen said "I feel I belong here"

January 14, 2015
by Staff Sgt Patrick Loch
Minnesota National Guard 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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