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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard program getting national attention

WASHINGTON - A program the Minnesota National Guard has started to help Soldiers adjust to normal life after they return from war would become a national model under an effort announced Friday by Rep John Kline, R-Minn

Kline says the "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program, which received bipartisan support and about $3 million last fall, is getting attention for its potential use by National Guard units around the country Officials from 19 states are in Minnesota this weekend to learn more about the program

"I think it's well-known from coast to coast that if we have Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in extended deployments that they are under some pretty, pretty heavy stresses," Kline said Friday "And we need to do something about that reintegration"

His legislation, which he plans to introduce next week, would nationalize Minnesota's program, providing the funding and structure for the National Guard in all states Kline said he hasn't seen any resistance from members of Congress and that he already has support from the National Guard Bureau, a national organization

The two-year-old program has served some 2,000 Guard Soldiers and family members, providing workshops on such topics as rebuilding and maintaining relationships, dealing with stress, anger management and substance abuse

Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, Minnesota's adjutant general, who took the lead in developing the program, said the program is intended also to help guard members return to school so the dropout rate is reduced, get access to local health providers and receive counseling for any relationship issues

It's unclear how much the program would cost nationally, but the money Kline is seeking would go toward administration costs and drill pay, he said "In my judgment, it's a small price to pay for this tremendous service that we need to provide," Kline, a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran, said

The Minnesota National Guard has had to delve into its own coffers to provide the reintegration training for Soldiers and their families, said Col Kevin Gerdes, who oversees the program

"The Army doesn't fund this kind of training or program in the reserve component," he said Active-duty members have access to the services at their home bases

There's another apparent need for federal legislation Minnesota needed a waiver to offer the program because the Department of Defense requires National Guard members to be left alone for 90 days after demobilization, Kline said He believes members need resources earlier to help them return to normal life

At 30 days and 60 days after demobilization, Soldiers and their families meet for workshops, Gerdes said There's a medical focus at 90 days, which only the Guard members attend

"The basis for this program is for us to look our Soldiers in the eye at the 30-day mark, the 60-day mark and 90-day mark and try to find out either through them or their family support structure if they are having issues, so we can identify it early, educate them and help them obtain follow-(up) care if needed," he said

Capt Justin Rodgers of Plymouth, who was deployed for 18 months and stationed in Baghdad, said the program helped him in his relationship with his wife

"We had been apart longer than we had been together," he said

His wife gave birth to their son while he was overseas, and she became the head of the household -- a role he said he was used to playing He said the workshop helped them be sensitive to each other's roles at home

Brady Averill is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau: 202-383-0015

By Brady Averill, Star Tribune

Article source: http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1134471.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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