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Minnesota National Guard
It's Never too Late to Dream

Olkives ST. PAUL, Minn. - Not all girls dream of princesses and desire to be pretty in pink when they grow up. The story of dreams and aspirations of serving in the military differ for each and every one of the members of the 133rd Airlift Wing.

For Master Sgt. Lynn Olkives, a first sergeant with the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron, the road to military service held some detours before she got where she wanted to go.

"I had my first child when I was 17, got married at 18, and ended up a divorced single mother by the age of 20," said Olkives. "As a single parent, I felt that joining the military was no longer an option for me, but I always wanted to serve in the military."

Military service was personal for Olkives. She came from a long family of proud military members of all branches. Her father served in the Marine Corps during Vietnam and an uncle who served in the Army. Her grandfather served in the Navy and her brother joined the Army Reserves when she was just a teenager.

"I thought it sounded so admirable and I was inspired to do the same," said Olkives. "I had what I considered my 'mid-life crisis.' I turned 34 and it suddenly occurred to me that I had not yet accomplished all that I aspired to; going back to school to get a degree and starting a career doing something I felt passionate about and where I could make a difference. I felt a sudden urgency to make a change in my life, but I did not know what was next for me."

Olkives worked full-time while maintaining her home and taking care of her husband and children. Still looking for something more, an unexpected surprise happened during a weekend at a wedding.

"I believe it was fate, I met someone in the 133rd Airlift Wing at a mutual friend's wedding and I learned that she was serving in the Minnesota Air National Guard," said Olkives. "I shared with her that I had always wanted to serve in the military and that unfortunately I thought it was too late for me. She informed me that in fact, it was not too late for me to join the military; that the age to enlist by had been changed to 35."

She was so thrilled to learn she still had a chance to fulfill her dream of serving her country in a military capacity, she turned to her husband on the spot and informed him, "I will be enlisting in the Minnesota Air National Guard next week."

A woman true to her word, she did all the necessary paperwork and was finally able to enlist in the Minnesota Air National Guard and was sworn in by (then) Maj. Sandy Best on July 21, 2001.

"I had always wanted to be a police officer and felt it was a bonus to fulfill two dreams at once by serving in the military as a Security Forces member," said Olkives. "I had no idea at the time how my one weekend a month and two weeks a year would change so quickly by the tragic events that happened to our country on September 11, 2001. When I came back from my training in May of 2002, I was almost immediately activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and accumulated nearly four years of active duty."

Olkives might be short, but she stacks up tall with her drive and determination to be the best she can be and make a difference.

"I served in the Security Forces Squadron for 13 years, until I was selected for the best job in the Air Force. I currently serve as the first sergeant for the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron," said Olkives. "Being a first sergeant was the 'dream job' that I aspired to achieve after observing the security forces squadron first sergeant."

She hopes to inspire the next generation of airmen coming behind her. Her words of wisdom to any military member are: "Follow your dreams, take risks, and never say no to yourself. If you don't try, the answer will always be no."

March 11, 2016
by Tech. Sgt. Lynette Olivares
133rd Airlift Wing 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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