/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Red Bull moms take care of business

Breastfeeding JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Washington - Being a mom is a big responsibility. Being a National Guard Soldier on top of that can be even more difficult. But, thanks to a new Army policy, new moms can still provide for their babies while away for training.

For two new moms from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters, their two-week annual training period couldn't come at a more difficult time. They were nursing mothers and the Soldiers based out of Rosemount, Minnesota, were scheduled to attend the Yama Sakura command post exercise at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, beginning in early December, halfway across the country. So the new moms packed up their breast pumps and set out to take care of business.

Sgt. Kristen Jones is an information technology sergeant and mom to a six-month-old son named Brentley. She was nervous when she found out she was going to have to leave for annual training when her son was still so little. She wasn't sure whether she would have to quit breastfeeding or if she would receive the support she needed in order to pump while away.

"As soon as I had the baby and came back to drill, I knew immediately that I was going to have support," said the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native. "Everyone in my section was so supportive. I'm in a section with a bunch of guys. I know some of them may feel a little awkward, but they still helped to find a place for me and make sure I had time to pump."

"I decided to breastfeed because it's cheaper than formula and it was convenient," said Jones. "After I started breastfeeding, I really began to bond with my baby and couldn't compare it to anything else. I'm glad I could keep up with it while we were here."

When asked what advice she would share with other new moms, Jones said to make sure to know the policy. She also said that Soldiers need to be open with leadership and not to be afraid to ask for help.

To help support new moms, the Army released a new policy effective September 2015. According to the Army's breastfeeding and lactation support policy, Soldiers who choose to breastfeed will have full support from their command to express milk during the duty day.

One of the requirements of this new policy includes designating a private space with the following criteria: It must be fully enclosed, have locking capabilities, have an electrical outlet, have access to a safe water source, and, must not be a bathroom stall.

In addition to a private space, commanders must provide time for Soldiers to express milk which can vary depending on a number of variables. Commanders and soldiers must balance lactation support with readiness, however.

Maj. Brandi DeGier, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division protection plans officer who is also breastfeeding, said the key for successful implementation of this policy is educating leaders on why it's important. When she was a company commander, she led Soldiers who chose to breastfeed and said she always worked to get them the time and space needed. It was important to her to remain flexible for her Soldiers, to treat them fairly and recommends other commanders do the same.

Commanders who have questions about the new policy can review the policy here. DeGier said they should also research the topic in order to fully understand the needs of new mothers. One good source is the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommends mothers breastfeed for at least a year, exclusively for the first six months.

"I don't believe this policy is going to affect readiness," said DeGier, mother of 6-month-old Garrett and four-year-old Jeremy, Jr. "If anything, supporting this new policy willfully will actually increase readiness. Soldiers who feel like they are being taken care of are more likely to stay in the military."

If a commander sees this new policy as a hindrance to training, he or she is going to be perceived negatively, the Albany, Minnesota, native explained. Soldiers who feel like they have support are more likely to enjoy their time in the Guard and stay in longer.

"We are fortunate to have such supportive leaders," she said. "I've been very happy with the amount of support we've received, and I don't think the implementation of this policy is going to be an issue in the Minnesota National Guard."

December 11, 2015
by Master Sgt. Ashlee J. L. Sherrill
34th Infantry Division Public Affairs



Download best photos

Download all photos




Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



Article archive
 
top