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Minnesota National Guard
John Kline: Better support for troops back from combat

If you ask Vietnam War veterans about their homecoming, you are likely to get many different answers Some returned to warm receptions from family and friends and quietly tried to put their wartime experiences behind them Others were met with open hostility and disdain by a public that could not begin to comprehend what they had gone through Regardless of the individual experience, the country as a whole simply wanted to forget about the long, bloody struggle in a far-off country As a society, we preferred to turn away from the silent pleas for help from those struggling to reintegrate into communities that had changed dramatically in their absence While we as a nation consciously chose to put the war behind us, a disturbing sense that something was still wrong continued to haunt us The decades that have passed since the last Americans departed Saigon have covered many of the wounds, but the nagging belief that we as a country did not do right by our returning veterans continues to this day It is this collective belief -- by those of us who fought, those who protested, and those who simply watched and prayed from a distance -- that has fostered a conviction to listen to our returning combat veterans and make them part of our communities once again

In Minnesota, we have no active-duty bases or other physical reminders of the sacrifices made each day by our troops It is an absence from our communities of the men and women who serve in the National Guard, however, that focuses our attention and spurs us to action

Based upon his experiences as a returning Vietnam War veteran, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito has taken the lead to build a reintegration program for returning Guardsmen who lack the established support infrastructure of their active-duty counterparts With the Minnesota National Guard's deputy chaplain, Maj John Morris, Maj. Gen. Shellito and the Minnesota National Guard leadership have developed an innovative program to change how returning Soldiers and airmen are reintegrated into their communities

The program is aptly called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon," to remind all of us that support for our veterans cannot end "when they return from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied" Through experiences drawn from the deployments of smaller units to Iraq and Afghanistan, the leaders of the Minnesota Guard developed a unique combat veteran reintegration program with a focus on supporting Soldiers and their families throughout the entire deployment cycle This multifaceted program includes Family Reintegration Academies with workshops to help prepare family members for their Soldier's return and training events at 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals for Soldiers following their demobilization

The training events will give Guardsmen the opportunity to engage VA and health care representatives while also allowing platoon sergeants and commanders to check in with their troops Experience has shown that catching signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or even marital problems early can prevent even more severe problems in the future Minnesotans can be justifiably proud of this pioneering, one-of-a-kind program

This Minnesota initiative has so impressed national leaders that the National Guard Bureau, the national-level organization in charge of equipping and deploying Guard units, cites it as the model for all other states to emulate I am pleased to be working with the National Guard Bureau and the Minnesota National Guard to nationalize this model program to enable other states to support their citizen-Soldiers and families using this proven system I will soon be introducing legislation to provide them with the resources and authorities necessary to implement the Minnesota "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program nationwide

With experience as our guide, we must change the way that returning citizen-Soldiers are reintegrated into our communities following months of difficult combat duty Minnesota has done this in superb fashion and can now act as a model for the rest of the nation to follow

John Kline, a Republican, represents Minnesota's Second Congressional District in the US House of Representatives

John Kline
Published: April 20, 2007

A press conference with Congressman John Kline and Major General Shellito discussing the nationalization of the Minnesota National Guard's "Beyond The Yellow Ribbon" reintegration program.
April 20, 2007

Article source: http://www.startribune.com/562/story/1132354.html



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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



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