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CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans and women have played a pivotal role in the success of the military Since 1776, when President George Washington lifted a ban on their enlistment into the Continental Army to fight against the British, African Americans have fought bravely for their freedom and the freedom of their fellow countrymen
Women have developed an increasingly larger role as time has passed from serving as nurses in the revolutionary war to being able to serve in combat roles today Warrant Officer Mary Touch, an electronic warfare officer for 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division stated women have proven to be just as important as their male counterparts
"Cultural diversity isn't going out on Monday nights for tacos and Friday nights for Chinese food, or watching a movie with Denzel Washington in it," 1st Lt Michael Griffis, the logistics planner for the 1/34th ABCT said "Cultural diversity is learning by sitting and spending time with members outside of what your ethnic group is"
To highlight cultural diversity, the Minnesota National Guard recognizes February as Black History month and March as Women's History month African Americans and women alike have played a significant role in every war and conflict in US history from the American Revolution to Afghanistan and Iraq
Diversity helps the Minnesota National Guard as an organization better itself in the sense that each individual brings with them their own background allowing different perspectives to be seen From the top leadership and down, Touch says there are steps being taken in the right direction towards diversity by recruiting both women and people of different ethnic backgrounds
"National Guardsmen and women, active Army and Service members across the board share the kinship that the uniform brings with it and that's the tie that binds us," said Griffis
The Minnesota National Guard provides a sense of brotherhood, family and camaraderie for its' Soldiers and Airmen, which allows them to look past each other's differences
"I can make an opportunity for myself on a level playing ground; I can serve as a mentor for not only young Soldiers of color, but any Soldier in general," continued Griffis "At every point in your career, whether civilian or military, we should be a seeker of knowledge from our mentor and pass that knowledge on to a mentee of our own"
The Minnesota National Guard has created a mentorship program where Soldiers can establish these relationships with other Soldiers to further their development and growth, not only professionally but also personally
"We can all learn together as we serve together," said Griffis
Minnesota National Guard Soldiers are able to further refine their skills, not only on their drill weekends but also on the civilian side This is a unique advantage that has allowed Griffis the freedom and flexibility to pursue his civilian education while serving his country
From one race and gender to the next, the Minnesota National Guard and the 1/34th ABCT will continue its efforts to maintain a diverse force within its ranks
February 17, 2015 by Spc William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.