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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Adjutant General convenes first junior diversity council

Junior Diversity Council ST. PAUL, Minn. - Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, met with more than 20 junior enlisted Soldiers and junior officers from units across the Minnesota National Guard, March 6, 2016, in St. Paul, to discuss issues and trends in diversity from the perspective of those who are newer to the organization.

"It's really important that we're here today because we are the future of the Army and if there's going to be change made, it's going to start with us," said Spc. Kiara Stapleton with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 347th Regional Support Group. "We need to be the changes that we want to see in the Army."

In an effort to get candid feedback that others aren't always willing to give to those in charge, the Adjutant General is initiating a quarterly dialogue with a group that doesn't always have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

"You don't really always get to hear the junior side of anything, you might hear it come from a sergeant or a higher ranking standpoint, but sometimes they'll put in their opinion. Here you're just going to hear it from us, how we feel it is," said Spc. Indira Valerio from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 34th Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "In my position sometimes you see things that the higher ups don't see and that the NCOs won't mention."

One of Nash's top six organizational priorities is diversity of the force. In 2011, 7.8 percent of Service members in the Minnesota National Guard were from diverse ethnicities. In four years, the Minnesota National Guard nearly doubled that to 14.3 percent in 2015 by increasing recruiting efforts and promotion retention.

"In the Minnesota National Guard we need to look like those we're going to lead," said Nash. "The demographics are changing as you all know, I think faster than people anticipate or realize. Either we're going to embrace change, embrace inclusion, and embrace opportunities or they're just going to happen. We need to be out in front of that and provide those opportunities early on to have those communities be reflected in our ranks."

To carry on that positive trend, the Minnesota National Guard continues to build relationships in the community to recruit candidates of racial, ethnic and gender diversity backgrounds.

"One of the issues that you see certainly across the country now, primarily in the law enforcement area, is the friction that exists in communities because they don't feel represented in those that are in positions of authority," said Nash. "I don't want that to happen in Minnesota."

Although the Minnesota National Guard has recently had more success in recruiting diverse individuals - with 27 percent of new Minnesota Army National Guard recruits in 2015 being from diverse populations - the organization still struggles to retain those individuals as they move up through the organization.

"I'd like to get your ideas today about how we get young men and women like you to the mid-ranks and to the senior ranks, because we always seem to have an issue of building to that level," said Nash.

In addition to recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds, the Minnesota National Guard is also working to incorporate women into positions that were previously closed to them after the Department of Defense lifted all gender-based restrictions on military service earlier this year.

"I've never once told any of our leadership that it's about quotas or numbers, it's all about opportunities, as many as we can provide, in our organization," said Nash.

March 7, 2016
by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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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.



Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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