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Minnesota National Guard
Ready for reunion

Each picture Zachary Slininger drew on an outline of his hand details a way he helps while his dad is in Iraq

The 6-year-old's construction-paper fingers show him painting, feeding the dog, vacuuming, grocery shopping and praying

He made the project Tuesday at a day camp for children who have parents deployed with the Minnesota National Guard

Camp Noah: A Soldier's Coming Home" is a five-day faith-based camp designed to help kids like Zachary prepare for their parents' upcoming return from Iraq

The camp, held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, also gives children a chance to be with other kids in the same situation

"It feels like I'm the only kid with a dad who's a Soldier," said Zachary, who lives in Barnesville, Minn, with his mother, Corinne Slininger, and his 9-year-old sister, Ashley

Corinne Slininger said she brought her children to the camp for just that reason The deployment of her husband, John, has been difficult

"It's been almost a grieving process for my son," she said

Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers are now coming home in waves after being on active duty for nearly two years More than 2,600 Minnesota Guard members, including several hundred from this area, were mobilized in fall 2005 and deployed to Iraq in March 2006

At Minnesota National Guard headquarters and other agencies, massive efforts are under way to help prepare families and Soldiers for the reintegration process

"Camp Noah: A Soldier's Coming Home" is put on by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota It's also taking place this week in Baxter Camps are planned next month in Bloomington and Rochester

At the Moorhead camp, about 15 children in kindergarten through sixth grade are doing arts and crafts, writing in journals and playing games The camp started Monday and ends Friday

As the kids play, counselors try to instill hope and help the children identify talents and skills, build on the resiliency they've shown and rely on their faith

"Five, six, seven, our skills and talents reach to heaven," counselors prompted a group of children to chant just before snack time Tuesday morning

Faith Hurajt, 7, of Fargo sat with legs splayed on two other chairs She was saving the seats for buddies

"It's fun," Hurajt said "The crafts that we do We draw pictures in our journals, we made name tags and we learned about hope"

The camp is an offshoot of Camp Noah programs originally created for children who have experienced disaster

James V Gambone, the statewide coordinator and creator of "Camp Noah: A Soldier's Coming Home," said his research was based partly on interviews with 10 Minnesota National Guard families with children the age of camp participants and eight other families who went through extended deployments

He also interviewed teenagers who experienced their parents' deployments and worked with a mother and daughter who wrote a children's book about dealing with deployments

The result, he said, is a camp "based on real experiences that parents and children have faced dealing with the issues of reunion and reintegration"

Children have taken different responsibilities during the deployment, and they may be anxious about how their roles will change when their parent returns, Gambone said

The initial reunion can cause children to worry about what they'll say, or what they should wear, he said

"It's getting the kids to talk about those kinds of " those simple things " to help prepare them for the reintegration of a very important person in their lives back into their lives," Gambone said

Aliyah Beyer, 7, said she is learning at camp about Iraq and when her father's going to come home, along with prayer, stories and music

"It makes me not feel like I'm the only one that has a dad in Iraq," she said "It makes me feel happy"

When are they coming home?

More than 2,600 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers left in fall 2005 for training at Camp Shelby, Miss, and then Iraq After an extension in March, the troops are coming home in waves this summer

Area Soldiers are expected to arrive at Fort McCoy, Wis, in mid- to late July, the Minnesota National Guard says They are from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry

That includes:

- More than 190 Soldiers from the Moorhead and Fergus Falls-based Headquarters Company

- More than 150 Soldiers from the Bemidji and Detroit Lakes-based A Company

- More than 140 Soldiers from the Crookston and Thief River Falls-based B Company

By Andrea Domaskin, In-Forum
June 27, 2007

Source: www.in-forum.com



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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.



Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



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