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Minnesota National Guard
Landscaper goes from treating lawns to Soldiers

ANAH, Iraq " Back home in Brainerd, Minn, this Minnesota Army National Guardsman treats lawns as a landscaper Here in this 5,000 year-old city of about 20,000 people, Pfc Adam Starry is tasked with treating his fellow Soldiers and several Iraqi Policemen

Starry of Company B, 194th Combined Arms Battalion, has been in the Guard for almost three years as a medic

"I kind of wanted to experience the medical field,"� he said a few hours after he and several of his fellow Guardsmen meandered through the streets of the city on a joint security/intelligence patrol in the city with the IPs

Starry and his fellow Soldiers, numbering about 15, also are experiencing what it is like being an IP in a city that is still a "hotbed of insurgent activity" They form a Police Transition Team whose task is to train the IPs to learn how to take control of their own communities and keep order Training includes learning basic organizational skills, leadership mentoring, and patrolling and search and seizure techniques

Starry, who said he gets an adrenaline rush every time he goes on a patrol, admitted that working with the IPs can be frustrating at times because of the language barrier "But it is definitely inspiring and exciting, he said "They amaze me more and more each day"

The PiTT is able to watch this transformation because it shares the same floor of a building in the city as the IPs There is a Marines headquarters here too in this former sports complex

A newly promoted IP lieutenant said he loves being a policeman and he hopes for peace "We're here to help you guys,"� he said

Case in point: At a gas station, he arrested a citizen who attempted to bribe him He told the man, "No bribes accepted here"� as he tore the money up

He also said that he joined the force for several reasons, including his belief in his country, personal honor, and wanting to protect his family and the Iraqi people

Spc Brent Haataja, a carpenter from Menahga, Minn, said he also has noticed that the IPs "work pretty hard to try and do good"

The team's officer in charge and a Fargo, ND, policeman, 2nd Lt Vitaly Sherbina, said he has met IPs from Rawah and Baghdad but they weren't as motivated as the Anah force

"These guys motivate us and tell us this mission is possible," said Sherbina, who came to the United States in 1999 from Russia and became an American citizen after Sept, 11, 2001 "These guys are doing everything to take control of the situation"

The team's noncommissioned officer in charge, Sgt Jon Morris of Salisbury, NC, expanded on this statement He said the IP leadership tells his team where they want to go on patrols

Morris said the IPs haven't led any of these patrols or raids yet though

"They want their town cleaned up of the insurgency,"� he said

Trust between the the PiTT team and the IPs has already been built too

"There is not a guy in the room right now that I wouldn't stand in front of or let stand behind me," said Morris

Sherbina said, "I can risk my life for any of these guys"

This bond seems to be getting stronger every day too

Cpl William Parker of Redwood Falls, Minn, said the IPs are very friendly "They always want us to come over and hang out with them,"� he said

Spc Mark Belcourt, 19, of Hastings, Minn, "hangs out"� with the IPs frequently The night after the patrol, he was interacting with about 10 of the IPs talking about what any young Soldier talks about He also is the youngest Soldier in the company

"I want to try and learn Arabic as much as possible, said Belcourt, whose mother is a sergeant in the Minnesota Army National Guard's 34th Infantry Division "(The IPs) treat you with such respect"

By Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood, 1/34th BCT Public Affairs
April 4, 2007
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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.

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."

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