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History
Minnesota National Guard
Train as you fight

SSG Cameron Gilliam CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- Staff Sgt Cameron Gilliam is constantly moving--before, during and after a fight His opponents usually stand in their corner, maybe move their arms and jump a little bit, but nothing like Gilliam He paces back and forth at about a five-foot space near his corner Only when the referee looks at him to begin the fight does he shuffle his feet After the fight begins, he closes in on his opponent They exchange a few jabs, some landing while others hit air Then Gilliam goes in for a takedown He wrestles his opponent to the ground, focusing more on achieving a good choke position than landing punches His opponent focuses on punching Gilliam wherever his fist can land His opponent tries to stand up, but he'll always land back on the ground Eventually--whether it is one, two or three rounds in--Gilliam submits his opponent when he's most vulnerable

Gilliam, a Woodbury, Minnesota, native and information technologist noncommissioned officer with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, has been training in mixed martial arts for the past four years at Spartan Martial-Arts in Oakdale, Minnesota Gilliam wrestled at Woodbury high school, but he never planned to start MMA

"I wanted to keep training because I missed wrestling," Gilliam said

He was talked into MMA after his trainers saw his potential, he said Once he started it, he fell in love with it

It is a lifestyle he enjoys, he said He's able to take care of his body and participate in an uncommon sport

Gilliam is well-known in the amateur MMA arena in Minnesota He has a 9-1-0 record according to mixedmartialartscom He has earned an amateur title and has defended it twice

His last fight was April 26, 2014, and he defended his title by submission with a triangle choke in the second round

Gilliam vacated his title when he deployed in June 2014 with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade At Camp Buehring, Gilliam keeps up with his MMA training He teaches boxing and Brazilian jiujitsu classes for soldiers as well

"The best way to learn something is to teach it," Gilliam said

Gilliam manages the gym and teaches several classes, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sysouk Khotsombath, a network manager for the 34th CAB and Mauy Thai instructor at the gym

"It's a sanctuary that helps [soldiers] get away, reset, think, get rid of frustration, and come back ready to work," Khotsombath said about the gym

Many of the soldiers who train at the gym look up to Gilliam, Khotsombath said

"He's a very humble guy," Khotsombath said "He shares a lot of his wisdom, knowledge, and experience from his time in the ring"

When an opportunity came to compete, Khotsombath encouraged Gilliam and a few other soldiers to take it

The Modern Army Combatives Program tournament was held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Feb 15, 2015 Soldiers deployed around the Middle East competed

The MACP trains soldiers in close quarters combatives to defeat the enemy in hand-to-hand combat Many of the moves are similar to Brazilian jiujitsu

The competition used the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association points system, Gilliam said "The buildup until you get to a fight is always a lot of fun," Gilliam said

While waiting for his name to be called for his first bout, he was nervous, Gilliam said He just wanted to get on the mat During the fight the nerves go out the window and his training kicks in His wrestling background was apparent in his bouts As with his MMA fights, after a takedown, Gilliam looks for hooks and sets up his position

Half of Gilliam's MMA fights have been won by submission by either a triangle choke or a rear naked choke

All but one--his championship--of his bouts at the MACP tournament were won by submission He won his championship bout by points, making him undefeated in his weight class at the tournament

Gilliam has a dream of fighting professionally and having his fights on TV one day, he said "My eyes are set," he said "I'd like to go very far with [MMA]"

He is planning on attending a training camp in Thailand when he returns from his deployment, he said He's more than capable of taking his career as far as his body will allow

Safety is a big consideration, Gilliam said His career, along with other MMA fighters, depends on how much his body can physically and mentally handle

"I just think [MMA] is a good thing in general for society," he said "It's not just people beating each other up, it's a sport"

But there are other sports a person can do, he said It's important to learn MMA in a gym if someone does choose to pursue it

March 5, 2015
by Spc Jessica Nemec
34th Combat Aviation Brigade 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.



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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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