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Minnesota National Guard
Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

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."

One of these "door openers" was 1st Lt. Joanie Moyer, the first female company commander in the Minnesota National Guard. In 1980 she was given command of the 47th Viking Infantry Division's Material Management Center. She was just "naturally aggressive," Moyer said in a 1980 interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Every [military] school I've gone to I've been number one in the class out of sheer competitiveness."

These are some of the doors opened by women in Minnesota National Guard:

- 1973, First female recruits in MNARNG enlisted in 47th AG Co. Pat Morris, Laura Olson and Beth Claussen
- 1974, Pvt. Vicki Eliasen is first female technician in MNNG. Co E, 747th Maint. Bn.
- 1975, Spec. 5 Alberta Marth first woman in 125th Field Artillery
- 1976, MNNG first in Midwest to offer pre-basic training course to females
- 1976, Spc. Debbie Hodgin first woman in C, 2-135IN
- 1976, first woman commissioned though MN Military Academy
- 1976, 2nd Lt. Lucy Kender is third woman officer in MNARNG
- 1977, 210 women in MNNG
- 1977, US Army Basic Training goes co-ed
- 1977, Pvt. Roxann Otto is first female in A, 1-135IN
- 1977, Spc. Sally Gullickson first female in B, 135IN
- 1980, 13 women serve as MNNG officers
- 1980, 1st Lt. Joanie Moyer is first female company commander in MNARNG, 47ID Mat. Mgmt. Ctr.
- 1988, Staff Sgt. Chilson, 2-136IN, is first MNNG female memorialized at Camp Ripley. Bldg. 15-71 is Lynette Ann Chilson Lounge
- 1996, Lt. Col. Maureen Gagliardi becomes first female BN commander (134SIG) in 1BCT.
- 2005, Staff Sgt. Janelle Johnson became the first female S4 NCOIC in the BSB
- 2007, Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Kallberg becomes first female CSM, 334BEB
- 2007, Command Chief Master Sgt. Jodi Stauber becomes first female senior enlisted advisor in 148FW
- 2009, Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall becomes first female enlisted advisor to chief of NGB
- 2011, Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Kallberg becomes first female Senior Enlisted Advisor in MNNG
- 2013, Col. Johanna Clyborne becomes first female MACOM commander at 347RSG
- 2013, Department of Defense rescinds Ground Combat Exclusion Rule, women allowed in combat units below brigade level
- 2013, 1st Lt. Andrea Petersen graduated OCS Class 57 in August, first MNNG female to commission FA Branch
- 2014, Capt. Tara Robertson is first female company commander for all-male B, 334BSB
- 2015, 1st Lt. Blair Marden is first female commander of NOREX Youth Platoon
- 2015, MNNG conducts first Joint Female Professional Development Training Symposium
- 2015, Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Johnson is first female platoon sergeant in a combat arms unit, HHB 1-125 FA
- 2016, Col. Sandra Best promoted to first female brigadier general in MNNG
- 2016, Pvt. Jennifer Garcia, C125FA, first MNNG female to enlist as 13B Cannon Crewmember
- 2016, Col. Johanna Clyborne, first Army female brig. gen. in MNNG, and first female Assistant Adjutant General
- 2016, Maj. Dana Novinskie becomes first female instructor pilot in 133AW
- 2016, Sgt. 1st Class Nickole Wells, 851 VEC, becomes first female platoon sgt. in a line engineer company
- 2016, 2nd Lt. Stephanie Marschall graduated OCS Class 60 in August, first MNNG female to commission AR Branch
- 2016, Pvt. Margaret Fromm, A334BEB, first MNNG female 12B Combat Engineer enlistee
- 2017, Command Sgt. Maj. Shannon Froiland, 682 EN, becomes first female CSM of an engineer battalion
- 2017, Staff Sgt. Kimberly Rauch, B 134 BSB, was first Senior Gunner in MNARNG
- 2018, First two female National Guard Soldiers graduate Maneuver Senior Leaders Course, 175RTI, Camp Ripley

Got a milestone for this list? Send to daniel.r.ewer.mil@mail.mil

March 1, 2018
by Master Sgt. Daniel Ewer
Command Historian
Minnesota National Guard 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
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

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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