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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."

1Lt Emanuel Hamer is embedded in the headquarters of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment, as a communications officer who helps with battalion technology operations. During this exercise, he worked side-by-side with his American counterpart to find technology solutions.

"It really is a team effort; I know that together, we are stronger," Hamer said. Not only does this partnership foster relationships amongst the officer ranks, a common understanding is being gained by the enlisted Soldiers as each day goes by. "We all look at this as a unique opportunity, said Sgt. Samuel Schoenecher of Brainerd, "They want to serve just like us. I feel like we are brothers."

With a wide range of diverse backgrounds, this partnership helps project Minnesotan and Croatian capabilities to the larger NATO effort. When asked why two countries separated by thousands of miles participate in such an exercise, Commander Inver Raguz of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "The strategic environment has been changing on a daily basis, each NATO member state should adapt and better prepare to respond to potential risks."

The Commander spoke clearly when he talked about the alliance's commitments and was happy to have the Minnesota National Guard training with him. Sitting confidently in his chair, with the NATO and Croatian flag at his side he said, "By conducting and exercising the NATO eFP Battle Groups, it shows Croatian strategic intention. By doing that we are promoting interoperability with Allies and regional partners and what is most important is that we are building our trust and the belief that we can rely on each other."

In a remote area of Lithuania, something special is taking place. Any casual observer can see the resolve in the American and Croatian Solders as they train. Those involved recognize that a strong military alliance can deter real or potential threats. NATO and its partnering nations continue to demonstrate how the bond of friendship can be the strongest uniting factor in our common goal for international security.

June 22, 2017
by Capt. Paul Modeen
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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"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.



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

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"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.



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