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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, beyond Minnesota

There's more reward than risk in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Act that Rep John Kline introduced in the US House on Tuesday But there is some risk

The reward: If it passes Congress, National Guard Soldiers returning from war zones will get the benefit of a smart, practical, on-point Minnesota effort to help them reintegrate in their communities The Minnesota National Guard leaders - among them Major Gen Larry Shellito and Chaplain (Maj) John Morris - who created the program here will see their tireless work on behalf of Soldiers, families and communities echo nationwide The investment will pay off for generations

Our current wars are different from others, in that they rely so heavily on National Guard and reserve Soldiers to supplement those who were on active duty Hundreds of thousands of National Guard Soldiers have been called to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan Many have had long and/or multiple deployments They have essentially left civilian life one day, deployed to war, and then returned to civilian life suddenly when their deployments are over Many are older and perhaps more thoroughly enmeshed in their civilian communities than Soldiers in earlier wars Because they return so abruptly to civilian life, Guard and reserve Soldiers don't have access to the same decompression apparatus that active-duty Soldiers have, nor the wider group of peers who understand their experience because they've lived it They go from dodging bullets and improvised explosive devices one week to waiting at red lights the next

For the overwhelming majority of American citizens who have no personal experience whatsoever with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this transition is difficult to even imagine Most Soldiers make the transition well - but that doesn't mean it's not difficult, nor that we shouldn't apply what we've learned about helping them through the transition It takes time, and community involvement

The program Kline's bill provides for is based on the successful "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" reintegration effort in Minnesota and draws from similar efforts elsewhere It would, among other things:

Establish an Office for Reintegration Programs at the National Guard Bureau that would coordinate with state Guard organizations to help Soldiers, their families and communities

Provide for a clearinghouse to collect, analyze and share lessons learned from around the country

Provide information and layers of support for Soldiers, their families and communities through the four phases of the deployment cycle: pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization, post-deployment All US House members from Minnesota have signed on as co-sponsors

Rep Keith Ellison, for example, said he was "very grateful to - and supportive of - our returning National Guard veterans We should support their return to our communities This bill brings yet another common-sense Minnesota solution to an American challenge"

We agree, and we're grateful to Kline for raising the profile - and deepening the support - of Minnesotans' effort to bring lessons learned and whole communities to bear on the successful reintegration of Soldiers We also believe it's important to account fully for the price of war, and this program helps

Which brings us to the risk we cited above Because so few Americans have personal connections to these wars, it's easy to imagine that dealing with their effects is somebody else's job Creation of a more formal, federally funded and organized reintegration program could create the illusion that government has all the bases covered

It doesn't

As Chaplain Morris reminds us often, it take whole communities - friends, families, congregations, employers, civic organizations and more - to get the job done right

Pioneer Press
May 1, 2005
Source: http://www.twincities.com

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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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