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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 National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



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.



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