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Minnesota National Guard
Soldier receives Purple Heart as families talk about war

Last September, Judy Clark received a phone call from her son's first lieutenant in Iraq

"You don't ever want to get that phone call," she said

But her son Kristopher, a specialist in the Scout platoon of the 2nd Battalion 136th Infantry, had asked the lieutenant to call home for him so he could talk to her

Spc Clark's unit was on patrol Sept 2 near Taqaddum when the unit returned to their sniper observation post for the night But an IED had been planted there, and the truck drove directly over the spot when it detonated Spc Clark was in the truck when it happened

"Some shrapnel came through the floor and got me in the foot," said Spc Clark
"It was his last patrol before his mid-term leave," said Clark's mother "Every time I think of Kristopher, I think of how fortunate we are"

The injury put Spc Clark, of Fergus Falls, Minn, in line for a Purple Heart

"Originally I was going to wait to get pinned when the guys came home," said Spc Clark, "but with the extension, I decided that it would be over a year from the injury, and I just wanted it done"

So, with more than a dozen family and friends on hand at the Moorhead Armory, Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, with assistance from Spc Clark's mother and father, pinned the Purple Heart

The pinning ceremony came at the conclusion of a community listening session Maj. Gen. Shellito, along with US Sen Norm Coleman, flew to Moorhead and Hibbing Saturday to hear concerns from citizens and families affected by deployments More than 100 people turned out to share their concerns, and representatives from Family Readiness Groups were present to ask questions about the extension

The delegation said Minnesota's state and federal officials have worked hard to ease the burdens caused by the deployments, but that there's always more to do For example, Gov Tim Pawlenty has been a tireless champion of Minnesota's military families, and former Senator Mark Dayton brought $3 million in federal dollars to Minnesota's reintegration efforts before retiring from the US Senate in 2006

"Senator Klobuchar is in Iraq today, and if she wasn't in Iraq, we'd probably be doing this together," Coleman said of the listening sessions

About 2,600 Soldiers are serving in Iraq with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division and more than 400 Airmen of the 148th Fighter Wing are also currently deployed to the region, many on their second or third rotations

By Spc Thomas Keeler

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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."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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