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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 to highlight diversity and leadership development at Women's Leadership Forum

Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.- Nearly 650 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to attend the Minnesota National Guard's third annual Women's Leadership Forum at the 3M Corporate Headquarters Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

"The Minnesota National Guard continues to diversify our force and grow strong leaders," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard. "Strong leaders are able to self-manage and channel emotions to produce desired behaviors and results."

The forum is part of an overall effort to promote an inclusive culture, diversify the organization, grow strong leaders and provide professional leadership development for both women and men. The topics will focus on emotional intelligence, leadership, high performing teams and creating a championship culture.



Minnesota Guardsmen tasked for support to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Posted: 2017-09-11  02:20 PM
133 AW FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. Six Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard also departed this morning to support relief efforts.

"I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide assistance in Hurricane Irma response and relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I encourage all Minnesotans who are able to contribute to qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma in any way we are able."

The 41 Airmen come from the 133rd Airlift Wing based in St. Paul and have a variety of skillsets. Fourteen of the Airmen are with the unit's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and specially trained in emergency medical evacuations. They are currently on standby at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois where they will support potential missions in the Caribbean or Southern United States. The remaining personnel comprised of Airlift Control Flight, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces, arrived today at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will assist in recovery operations. The Airmen can support airports with skills and equipment to re-establish operations after disasters, secure aircraft and load and unload equipment.



Minnesota National Guard to send aviation assets to support Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 2017-09-01  10:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The soldiers will depart today from St. Cloud via CH-47 chinook helicopters to conduct aviation operations in Texas.

"I am glad that Minnesota will be able to assist the victims of the terrible tragedy in Texas, with 11 Minnesota National Guard soldiers accompanying two Chinook helicopters to join in relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota soldiers, who will travel to Texas to provide this critical relief. I encourage all Minnesotans, who are able, to donate to the qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist in any way we can."

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is an Army National Guard unit that supports disaster response operations by providing aviation capabilities - both UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.



'Highly Effective:' 148th Fighter Wing Excels

Posted: 2017-08-24  07:36 AM
148th FW DULUTH, Minn. - For four days in early August, a team of inspectors from the Air Combat Command's Inspector General team (ACC/IG) inspected, evaluated, verified and validated the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing (148FW) in Duluth.

The results were impressive.

From Thursday, Aug. 3rd to Monday, Aug. 7th, during the course of the 148FW's August Drill Weekend, nearly 50 inspectors flew up to northern Minnesota to take a closer look at the 148FW during a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI).

Their white IG badges conspicuously dangling around their necks, the inspectors spoke at length with the 148FW Airmen, asking them about their training plans, and their file plans, their checklists and their ability to accomplish their given mission. Documents were reviewed, reports were validated and equipment was inventoried. The inspection was as thorough as it was exhaustive.



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