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Minnesota National Guard
Female WWII aviation pioneer, Elizabeth Strohfus, leaves lasting legacy

Strohfus funeral FARIBAULT, Minn. - Some join the military out of pride for their country, a passion to be a part of something bigger than them or even maybe just to do what they love.

For Faribault native Elizabeth "Betty Wall" Strohfus it was a combination of all three and she was a force to be reckoned with. As one of the first Women Air Force Service Pilots, she was a part of a proud group of women pilots who served in World War II. Earlier this month, she passed away at the age of 96 surrounded by family and friends.

"I was so sorry to hear of the passing of one of the great (and local) women in aviation, 'Betty Wall'," said Maj. Stacey Meiser, a Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 pilot at the 133rd Airlift Wing. "I am so grateful for the pioneering efforts made by Betty and others like her which have allowed me the opportunity to follow my dream of being an Air Force pilot."

After the military, Betty had a family, but her love and passion for flying never settled down. Her energy, spunk and passion for airplanes and life was contagious not only to other women in aviation, but nearly everyone she met.

"In my career I have been fortunate to meet both my heroes in aviation: Chuck Yeager and Betty Strohfus; both started in the U.S. military as WWII pilots, both broke records and barriers in military aviation, but of my two aviation heroes, my favorite is the gritty pilot who had the tactical patience to wait 35 years for her status as Veteran," said Lt. Col. Patricia Baker, a Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, who served multiple tours in the Middle East.

Betty's passion and life-long aspiration was to tell her story about her time in the military and inspire and encourage anyone she met.

"I stood in line for almost an hour at the annual EAA Oshkosh fly-in in July 2004 just to get an autograph from retired Brig. Gen. Yeager, but to Betty, I was a fellow military aviator who stood with her side-by-side," said Baker.

Betty Wall was always a proud advocate for the WASP and proud of her military service despite not always being recognized as a military member. It wasn't until 1977 that WASPs were granted full military status for their service, a law which she and other WASPs lobbied Congress to pass. In 2010, she received the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in Washington D.C., along with more than 200 surviving WASPs.

Air Force Col. Nicole Malachowski, the first female pilot in the Air Force's air demonstration squadron, was instrumental in shaping a bill to honor and recognize the WASPs and also met Betty.

"If you spend any time at all talking to these wonderful women, you'll notice how humble and gracious and selfless they all are," said Malachowski. "Their motives for wanting to fly airplanes all those years ago wasn't for fame or glory or recognition. They simply had a passion to take what gifts they had and use them to help defend not only America, but the entire free world, from tyranny. And they let no one get in their way."

Betty will be remembered fondly and will be missed. She was laid to rest March 15, 2016, and buried with full military honors.

March 17, 2016
by Tech Sgt. Lynette Olivares
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 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
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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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