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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
View the Training Iraqi Police photo gallery




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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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