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Minnesota National Guard
A Soldiers insight on serving the U.S. in Iraq

Dominic Thao, a 28-year-old graduate of St Paul Central High School, is on a tank in Iraq serving an extended deployment with the Minnesota National Guard Here are excerpts from a recent e-mail interview with him

Q: You've told family members to take media reports from Iraq "with a grain of salt" How are the media distorting your daily reality?

A: The media tend to sensationalize the violence that occurs in Iraq Don't get me wrong, the violence and danger do exist, though it appears the media are putting a magnifying glass on specific incidents that occur in remote regions of a country the size of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona combined

The general public will often interpret these specific cases as a widespread state of chaos throughout every portion of the country In reality, the violence is isolated and more subtle than portrayed Being a Soldier, I have conducted missions outside the fortified bases My personal encounter with hostile attacks is minimal, contrary to the many perceptions in the US

Q: More than 2,500 Minnesota National Guard troops were expected to be coming home in March to reunite with their families How has the 125-day extension affected your morale and the mood of your fellow Soldiers?

A: It was a great disappointment to be notified of the extension National Guard members are citizen Soldiers, who have a job, a career or business that you tend to set aside from your Soldier's duties Much of that has been put on hold

Q: Why did you join the National Guard and would you do it again?

A: I've always had a keen interest in military service and was always curious about participating The military was an opportunity I passed up after high school Having dabbled in college and the workforce, I felt my life was at a lull The National Guard presented the military service I sought, though it allowed me to retain my civilian goals while serving In addition, there are benefits for my college education -- this service will be financially helpful in my goal to return to finish my college degree

Q: Does your Hmong-American background differentiate you from other US Soldiers?

A:I feel I am already part of the mainstream culture, especially having been born in the US and swallowing everything that American pop culture had offered me As for the difference of my ethnic background, I just see it as a key feature that makes me unique from the many facets of Americans abroad in this country I take pride in my heritage as would an Irish-American, Polish-American or Spanish-American

Curt Brown "¢ 651-298-1542 "¢ curtbrown@startribune.com
May 15, 2007
Source: http://www.startribune.com



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Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."



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."



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