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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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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
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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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