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Minnesota National Guard
682nd Soldiers, families enjoy picnic prior to deployment

Family picnic WILMAR, Minn - Deploying Soldiers from the 682nd Engineer Battalion enjoyed a picnic with loved ones at Robbins Island Park in Willmar, Minn, September 11, 2015

The picnic was sponsored by "Serving Our Troops" and coincided with the unit's final drill weekend before deploying to Kuwait Families of the Soldiers were able to socialize and build a support system to take on the challenges that come with a deployment

That weekend, Soldiers and their families also took part in the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon's Family Prep Academy, a nationally recognized one-day program geared to improve the quality of life for everyone affected by a deployment

"It will help not only spouses, but also parents, siblings and children understand and be able to cope with the deployment of their loved one," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, commander of the 682nd Engineer Battalion

The Family Prep Academy links participants with subject matter experts, previously-deployed Service members and representatives from military, government and civilian agencies Those interactions ensure that Soldiers and their loved ones are aware of the resources available to them during a deployment

Ferdon noted that the academy is a useful tool regardless of the Soldier's experience with deployments

"Whether this is the Soldier's first or fourth deployment, I believe we all learned good information," said Ferdon

The nearly 160 Soldiers deploying with 682nd Engineer Battalion began training at Camp Ripley, Minn, last May The unit will depart Minnesota for additional training in October in preparation for a one-year mobilization to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield

The unit's mission will be to direct and oversee the mission command for vertical and horizontal construction companies and missions within the US Central Command

The Soldiers of the 682nd represent 99 communities, and expect to return home next summer

September 11, 2015
by Sgt Bob Brown
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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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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