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History
Minnesota National Guard
Diversity from within the ranks

1ABCT 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



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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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