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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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Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
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"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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Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
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"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."



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Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
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Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

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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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