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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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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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