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Dual status commander clears a path for unified disaster response
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
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.
"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.