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Minnesota National Guard
Department of Defense Recognizes Metro Region Minnesota Employers

ESGR Banquet ST PAUL, Minn - - Minnesota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) State Chair Nick Ostapenko recognized Metro area employers as outstanding employers of Minnesota National Guard and Reserve members, at the Minnesota ESGR Region 7 annual employer support awards banquet, May 11, at the Minneapolis/St Paul Airport Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn

"Our Nation has relied heavily on Guard and Reserve Service members since entering continuous operations more than a decade ago Employer support enhances retention rates in the Armed Forces and in the end, strengthens our national security," said Ostapenko "Recognizing supportive employers is vital to ESGR's mission Our ESGR members actively promote awards as a key element in furthering employer support, while strengthening relationships between Service members and employers We are here today to award and honor the sacrifices made by so many employers year after year"

Approximately 200 military, government and business people attended the event which recognized employers who have provided exceptional support for the men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserves The award winners were chosen from a pool of over 350 nominations submitted by military members who felt that their employers had gone beyond their legal obligations in supporting them and their families

The "Seven Seals" award is the broadest and most inclusive award given by ESGR and is presented at the discretion of the State Chair or by ESGR senior leadership The Seven Seals award is in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes the ESGR mission Mike Bray of Bray Leather Studio in Monticello, Minn, was recognized with the Seven Seals award

The "Above and Beyond" award is given in limited numbers by state and territory ESGR committees It recognizes employers at the state and local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees The following companies were recognized for the ESGR Above and Beyond award for providing exceptional support to their military employees:

BAE Systems
Bolton & Menk
Children's Specialty Center Children's Hospitals & Clinics of MN
Compass Airlines (Spouse Above and Beyond award)
Dakota Truck
Drake Equity
Hartford Group Benefit Claims Long Term Disability
Kroll Ontrack
Maple Grove Hospital
Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board
Minnesota Attorney General
PCL Construction
St Paul Police Department
Thomson Reuters
United Health Group
Verizon Wireless
Washington County Sheriff's Office
Wells Fargo
Xcel Energy
Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC

ESGR's "Pro Patria" award is presented annually by each ESGR State Committee to one small, one large and one public sector employer in their state or territory Recipients have demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their progressive leadership and practices over time This is the highest level award that may be bestowed by a state ESGR committee Pro Patria award honorees are employers who show exceptional support for the nation's defense by adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve The following employers were recognized with the ESGR Pro Patria award:

Cargill Incorporated - Large Employer
Ramsey County Sheriff's Office - Public Sector Employer
(There was no Small Employer recipient this year)

ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, recognizing outstanding employer support, and resolving potential conflicts between employers and their Service members

For further information, please visit wwwesgrmil or contact Eric Rolstad at (320) 616-3198 or erictrolstadctr@mail.mil For additional photos of the award ceremony, please visit http://bitly/1G6q6HX

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Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.

148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.

Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

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