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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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100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.



Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.



Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.



Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.



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