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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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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.



Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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