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Minnesota National Guard
Dual status commander clears a path for unified disaster response

Minnesota National Guard The Minnesota National Guard's Vigilant Guard exercise stepped up its real-world relevance on Aug 24, 2015, when the Commanding General of the 34th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, was appointed as the exercise's Dual Status Commander

The magnitude of the simulated incidents integrated into the Vigilant Guard exercise - including a chemical spill from an overturned railcar, massive landslides, flooding and other events that could affect Minnesota communities - prompted a fictional declaration of a state of emergency by the federal government The scale of the emergency response, in addition to federal assets being committed to the disaster relief efforts, necessitated the need for a single commander to coordinate military efforts

"Dual Status Commanders are authorized to command both federal and state military forces," said Navy Lt Cmdr Richlyn Ivey, public affairs officer with US Northern Command "When a dual status commander is stood up, it allows state and federal governments and the Department of Defense to work together on a collaborated effort to accomplish a mission or operation"

The Vigilant Guard exercise purposely incorporates multiple interagency, intergovernmental, military and civilian aid organizations that might be called upon during a major disaster This allows Minnesota National Guard service members an opportunity to build relationships with counterparts in other organizations, enhance their ability to support the communities in which they serve and practice the command philosophies that better enable response efforts

"When an event happens - and I don't say, 'if' - the citizens of Minnesota will benefit by having a prepared, qualified and unified response," said Army Col Charles Kemper, the 34th ID's operations officer "By going through these exercises and coordinating our efforts, it gives us a better chance to save lives that might not otherwise be saved, a chance to save property that might have been lost in a real-world scenario"

According to the United States Army War College, only 2 percent of emergencies require a response from the federal government Conversely, 94 percent of emergencies are handled at the local level - responders that are quick to respond and engage in communities where they are known and trusted It's during massive events, when additional layers of response are required (ie the Governor of Minnesota declaring a state of emergency and asking the federal government for assistance) that a dual status commander is vital to ensure unity of effort

The government's response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is recent example of a dual status commander being utilized in a real-world emergency

Story and photos by: Army Staff Sgt Patrick Loch


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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



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Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



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Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
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"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



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Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
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About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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