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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota DNR and National Guard combat wildfires

Minnesota National Guard With a Department of Natural Resources Air Attack operator in a helicopter pointing out the targets, two Minnesota Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters assaulted a series of controlled grass fires this month at Camp Ripley

The DNR and the National Guard have been training together with live fires since 2001, but for the first time a DNR Enforcement helicopter is being used to direct the Black Hawks to their targets The DNR helicopter is ideal for serving as an aerial supervision platform, guiding the Black Hawks

"This cooperative effort is an excellent example of a partnership designed to improve firefighting efficiencies, as well as contain air support costs," said Capt Tom Buker, DNR Enforcement Division chief pilot

The fires were deliberately set to increase proficiency in delivering water to a fireline, to use proper communication procedures for airspace coordination around a fire traffic area or dip site, and to practice air/ground coordination, according to Darren Neuman, acting DNR Forestry Division helicopter operations specialist

Guard helicopters use buckets, known by the trademarked name of Bambi Buckets, to scoop up water from lakes, ponds, and rivers that are deep enough for the bucket to be submerged

The collapsible buckets, which are hung underneath the Black Hawk helicopters, can dump 640 gallons or 5,120 pounds of water on a fire each time they are used, a boon to DNR firefighters

"The National Guard helicopters can be mobilized within hours," Neuman said "The next helicopters that can deliver that amount of water are at least one or two days travel time away"

Two National Guard Black Hawks were used in April for water bucket missions at the Palsburg wildfire in Beltrami Island State Forest near Warroad

At the controls of the DNR helicopter was Brad Maas, a retired chief warrant officer with the Guard who deployed to Iraq in 2007 Also onboard was DNR Forestry Air Attack operator who coordinated the drops and locations for the National Guard aircraft Maas was in charge of positioning the helicopter so the Air Attack could view the operation

"Air Attack helps advise the ground folks of incoming drops, where to hit the fire next, plus handle any problems if the fire unexpectedly takes off in a different direction," said Maas

Each spring, Minnesota Army National Guard helicopter crews retrain and recertify on how to attach the buckets to Black Hawk helicopters, and then practice picking up and dumping water

"The objective is to integrate the Minnesota Guard air assets into a fire scenario in a training environment, so when they are mobilized for an actual fire they are better prepared," said Col Shawn Manke, the Guard's state aviation officer "It also allows us to understand expectations and integrate with our interagency partners, allowing us to more efficiently and effectively respond to civil authority requests"

Manke said that all Guard crews must be of the highest readiness level before they are allowed to respond to a fire This training entails all flight modes with mission tasks that include sling loads and water bucket training, with an emphasis on crew coordination Additionally, required classroom training is taught by the DNR, Guard instructor pilots, or through online independent study

"Once prerequisite field and classroom training is completed, we conduct hands-on training with the DNR," Manke said

Minnesota National Guard aviators have a good working relationship with the DNR

"The training we facilitate through collaboration increases the readiness of the Minnesota National Guard, and it provides a capable force for the DNR to respond to fire threats when required," Manke said

May 28, 2015
HometownSourcecom
Article source
http://hometownsource.com/2015/05/28/minnesota-dnr-and-national-guard-combat-wildfires/



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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."



Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



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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