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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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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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