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Minnesota National Guard
Guardsmen set to come home soon

Families of area Minnesota National Guard Soldiers have worried and waited for nearly two years

Now they're planning public and private homecoming celebrations when more than 2,600 Minnesota National Guard members come home from Iraq in waves this summer

Several hundred of the Soldiers and their families are from this region

"It's been a long 22 months," said Capt Aaron Krenz, reintegration operations officer for the Minnesota National Guard "They are really, really excited to bring their Soldier home"

The Soldiers are expected back in the US in mid- to late July and will undergo demobilization at Fort McCoy, Wis, before returning home


Andrea Domaskin Archive

Community welcome-home ceremonies are being planned for the still-unknown date when buses with returning Soldiers will arrive in Moorhead and other area cities

But Guard families are also making preparations closer to home They are excited, nervous and " above all " ready, both family members and military personnel said

"I think a lot of people are in a nesting mode right now," said Krista Colemer, leader of Moorhead's family readiness group, a support network for families of the deployed Soldiers Her husband is deployed "They're trying to get their houses organized, and they're planning vacations " all that stuff we do"

Nancy Purdon, whose 25-year-old son, Jeff, is one of the returning Soldiers, said she's trying to finish her basement in case her son wants to have a celebration

"We're leaving it up to him," the West Fargo woman said "We hear so many varied stories about the guys' reactions when they do get back We don't want to overwhelm him or push him into anything"

She plans to have some good steaks on hand, just in case

That's an approach Krenz recommends

Families should discuss with their Soldier what kind of homecoming celebration to plan " and when to have it, he said

"One Soldier's going to be an exact 180 from another one," Krenz said

Daniel Ward's family may hold a bonfire for him and a couple of fellow Soldiers after they return

His sister, Beth Davis, who would host the party at her rural Glyndon, Minn, home, said they'll settle the details after 25-year-old Daniel returns

"We've kind of delayed planning until we see the whites of their eyes," Davis said "Last time we started planning it got delayed four months"

Daniel's mother, Jean Ward, is so emotional about his upcoming return that she burst into tears when asked about it after a recent family readiness group meeting

"I go through a lot of tears," said Ward, of Glyndon, wiping her eyes

Welcome-home ceremonies

There will be welcome-home ceremonies when Minnesota National Guard Soldiers return to area cities from Iraq sometime in the coming weeks

The Moorhead ceremony is being organized by the local family readiness group and Minnesota National Guard staff members at the Moorhead Armory

Plans are still being worked out, but Kimberly Biby, secretary of the family readiness group, asks Moorhead residents to decorate their yards for the homecoming, especially those on Eighth Street

Buses carrying the Soldiers are expected to take that route through town, said Maj Timothy Kemp, battalion officer in charge for the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry

They're expected to be taken to the Moorhead Armory, where a public ceremony is in the works, Biby said

"We would love to have it overflowing to the parking lot," she said

More coming home

More than 2,600 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers are returning to the US after 16 months in Iraq

Soldiers in this region are expected to arrive at Fort McCoy, Wis, in mid- to late July Most are from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry

By Andrea Domaskin, In-Forum, July 5, 2007
Source: www.in-forum.com

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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."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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