/*********************************************** * 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
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding

Neely COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.

"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."

Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.

"Just when I think I've got a real handle on what this job is and what it means, I learn something else," said Neely. "I learn something new every time, and it's always changing, it's always updating we're always learning new things about how to better care for victims and how to care for secondary victims."

Victim advocates in the National Guard play an important role in the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program. They are one of just three people (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Victim Advocate or Chaplain) who can take a restricted report and they are assigned to victims to ensure that they have somebody there to help them through the entire process. Their primary job is to listen and not judge and focus solely on helping the victim.

"Our job as victim advocates is to believe everything that the victim says - we are not judge or jury - and that's a really important healing aspect for the victim," said Neely. "If they go through a process where they go see medical personnel or they go see the police, they need someone on their side who believes everything they say and can stick up for them when someone says something that's not ok."

Neely says that since she's joined the National Guard, the environment and attitude about sexual assault and harassment has gotten better and continues to improve. She credits more informal training opportunities with making it easier for Soldiers to ask questions and discuss sexual assault.

"I think it's just become more of an open topic and people are becoming more comfortable talking about it, in turn making it easier for victims to come forward and report, or at least reach out and talk to somebody about it if something does happen," said Neely.

Being a victim advocate can be an emotionally-taxing experience. Advocates see people at their worst and need to be able to earn the trust of a person who's in a vulnerable place and provide whatever comfort and assistance they need.

"I think the most difficult thing is listening to their story and not trying to rush in and fix everything for them right away," said Neely. "It's understanding that they have a healing process to go through and knowing that you just play one very small portion but it can be a very significant portion that contributes to the rest of their healthy healing."

Neely has decided to pursue a career after the military using some of the skills she's gained as a victim advocate. She will graduate May 1 with a bachelor's degree in individualized studies focused on communication, advocacy and violence prevention. While Neely has some time before her military retirement, she's already looking toward a future career which will allow her to work to improve the laws and policies that exist around sexual assault.

"Knowing that somebody went through something which I believe to be one of the most awful things that you could ever go through as a human being, and being a part of that healing process and being hopefully a positive presence, it feels good," said Neely. "I just continue to be awed and inspired by their courage and bravery and I can't really say I get a lot out of it, I just like being there for them in that moment."

To report a sexual assault or speak to someone about sexual assault, call or text 612-208-5299 or call 888-282-4858. You can also visit www.SafeHelpline.org or call (877-995-5247) to speak with Safe Helpline staff.

April 26, 2017
by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



Download best photos





Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota National Guard to highlight diversity and leadership development at Women's Leadership Forum

Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.- Nearly 650 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to attend the Minnesota National Guard's third annual Women's Leadership Forum at the 3M Corporate Headquarters Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

"The Minnesota National Guard continues to diversify our force and grow strong leaders," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard. "Strong leaders are able to self-manage and channel emotions to produce desired behaviors and results."

The forum is part of an overall effort to promote an inclusive culture, diversify the organization, grow strong leaders and provide professional leadership development for both women and men. The topics will focus on emotional intelligence, leadership, high performing teams and creating a championship culture.



Minnesota Guardsmen tasked for support to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Posted: 2017-09-11  02:20 PM
133 AW FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. Six Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard also departed this morning to support relief efforts.

"I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide assistance in Hurricane Irma response and relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I encourage all Minnesotans who are able to contribute to qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma in any way we are able."

The 41 Airmen come from the 133rd Airlift Wing based in St. Paul and have a variety of skillsets. Fourteen of the Airmen are with the unit's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and specially trained in emergency medical evacuations. They are currently on standby at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois where they will support potential missions in the Caribbean or Southern United States. The remaining personnel comprised of Airlift Control Flight, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces, arrived today at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will assist in recovery operations. The Airmen can support airports with skills and equipment to re-establish operations after disasters, secure aircraft and load and unload equipment.



Minnesota National Guard to send aviation assets to support Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 2017-09-01  10:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The soldiers will depart today from St. Cloud via CH-47 chinook helicopters to conduct aviation operations in Texas.

"I am glad that Minnesota will be able to assist the victims of the terrible tragedy in Texas, with 11 Minnesota National Guard soldiers accompanying two Chinook helicopters to join in relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota soldiers, who will travel to Texas to provide this critical relief. I encourage all Minnesotans, who are able, to donate to the qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist in any way we can."

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is an Army National Guard unit that supports disaster response operations by providing aviation capabilities - both UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.



'Highly Effective:' 148th Fighter Wing Excels

Posted: 2017-08-24  07:36 AM
148th FW DULUTH, Minn. - For four days in early August, a team of inspectors from the Air Combat Command's Inspector General team (ACC/IG) inspected, evaluated, verified and validated the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing (148FW) in Duluth.

The results were impressive.

From Thursday, Aug. 3rd to Monday, Aug. 7th, during the course of the 148FW's August Drill Weekend, nearly 50 inspectors flew up to northern Minnesota to take a closer look at the 148FW during a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI).

Their white IG badges conspicuously dangling around their necks, the inspectors spoke at length with the 148FW Airmen, asking them about their training plans, and their file plans, their checklists and their ability to accomplish their given mission. Documents were reviewed, reports were validated and equipment was inventoried. The inspection was as thorough as it was exhaustive.



Article archive
 
top