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Minnesota National Guard
Soldiers pledge allegiance to adopted country

In a naturalization ceremony at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, on Thursday, 31 Soldiers took the oath of citizenship It's an increasingly common occurrence, but no less exciting for the Soldiers who become US citizens
"Do I feel different? I'm not sure, but I feel happy, I'm grateful," said Spc Alkali Yaffa, 32, a native of Gambia who has been in the Minnesota National Guard since January 2004

Since a presidential executive order took effect in July 2002, more than 20,000 service members have become US citizens And since Oct 1, 2004, when naturalization interviews and ceremonies were authorized to take place overseas for service members, more than 1,000 have taken the oath outside the US Yaffa moved to New York City in 1997 and a year later joined City in 1997 and a year later joined relatives in St Paul

He's been in Iraq for six months, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 34th Brigade Combat Team, and after his citizenship ceremony, he took off for two weeks' leave to see his family

"I'm going to celebrate with my wife and my kids," he told Army Times via telephone "I called them after the ceremony and they were all happy and glad," said Yaffa, whose family are all US citizens

His tour in the war zone, he said, is a natural part of being a Soldier, with or without citizenship, even though the prospect of dying for his adopted country without it sometimes crossed his mind "All along I got the support I needed from my command I never felt different, nobody has ever treated me differently," he said "I believe in the cause and I believe I should play my part to keep my wife and kids safe"

By Gina Cavallarom, Army Times
Source: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2075118.php



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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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