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History
Minnesota National Guard
334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Celebrates Women's History

Women's History BLOOMINGTON, Minn - Soldiers of Headquarters, Headquarters Company of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion took time away from training to celebrate Women's History Month with a look at the history of women in the Minnesota National Guard from someone who lived it

Invited to speak at the event was Geraldine Longfellow In 2008, Longfellow retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard at the rank of lieutenant colonel She has since been brevetted to the rank of colonel

Commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Col Robert Intress, expressed his appreciation to introduce someone who could so well exemplify the positive attributes of any great Service member, whether they be male or female Though retired, Longfellow still works to strengthen the Minnesota National Guard through volunteer work with various veteran's organizations, as well as Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a program that connects Service members with community services

Longfellow began her career in the MNARNG when "all the firsts," as she described them, were taking place When she first joined the Army Reserves in 1976, the Women's Army Corps (WAC) was its own branch under the federal Army Currently in the Minnesota National Guard, women are being accepted into vacant positions in units that were previously closed to females

"You're standing on the shoulders of women who were so dedicated and so committed; they made huge strides for us," Longfellow said, speaking to the female Soldiers in attendance

Basic training when Longfellow attended was separate for women There, they would march in skirts to the physical training field; they were taught how to wear their nails and make-up--the antithesis of things a Soldier really needs to know Now, women are taking command of formerly all-male units and being selected for schools which were exclusive to men before the ban was lifted on allowing women in combat roles in 2013

The Minnesota National Guard celebrates the value of diversity in the organization and continues to maximize its strengths and readiness to serve the community Longfellow herself emphasized this idea when she told the audience, "Be ready and be flexible We should strive to embrace diversity and be inclusive By doing this we strengthen our teams"

March 24, 2015
by Sgt Linsey Williams
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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