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Minnesota National Guard
Guard wives bond remains as strong as ever

With the prospect of their husbands leaving to fight the war in Korea imminent, a group of military wives from the Crookston area formed a special connection that, 55 years later, remains unbroken While the women kept in touch - some more than others - Dorothy Helgeson decided about nine years ago it was high time that they meet more often

"Some of our husbands had passed away, but all 17 of us were still around," she said "We didn't see each other as often as we would've liked to, though I said I really missed these girls and wanted to get together at least once a year"
So, at Helgeson's urging, in the fall of 1997, 17 women came from all over the state of Minnesota and North Dakota for lunch and to reminisce about their times at Camp Rucker, Ala The reunion turned into an annual event, with this year's held last Wednesday at the American Legion

"We've only lost three of us, not bad considering our ages," said Helgeson "Some of our husbands used to come, too, and they would go to the other side But now most of them are either gone or sick"

Their husbands, members of the Army National Guard 47th Infantry Division, were called to the camp in late 1950 to train replacement troops for combat in Korea Between Jan 6, 1951 until mid-1953, the families spent anywhere from a few weeks to a year and a half living near the camp, now known as Fort Rucker While the possibility of being sent to Korea existed, few of the men were actually deployed there


A total of 12 women made it to Wednesday's reunion, one of whom called herself a "guest," as she was not the wife of a Soldier at Camp Rucker but nevertheless spent time there Jean Dupont, now living in Colorado, was still in high school when she went down to spend the summer visiting her sisters, Virginia (John) Lang, currently residing in Stillwater, and Pat (Lionel) Anderson of Fisher While she was there, she also helped care for her sisters' six young children

"I got a ride down there with Mary (Flaten) and rode back with someone else," said Dupont "Someone was always coming back or going down"

Flaten, of Grand Forks, recalled that she was a new bride, married in October, when her husband Ronnie's unit was called out in December Because Lang didn't drive, they drove down together "with her four little boys"

"It was ice from Minnesota all the way down to the south," Lang chimed in

Most of the couples had children in tow, ranging in age from newborn to 11 years old, when they arrived at Camp Rucker Some even made the return trip with additional family members

"I went down there with a son and came back with a daughter," Jean (Gerald) Kreibich quipped

Mary Tuseth, who traveled down to Fort Rucker as a single woman, came back married She was visiting her sister, Margaret (Oscar "Ike") Berglund there when her brother-in-law introduced her to Bob Tuseth, whom she barely knew previously Before long, the two were planning a wedding, which the women helped plan

"It was a wonderful military wedding," said Dolly (Don) Youngquist "We all had tears in our eyes"

Helgeson, whose late husband, Milton, was in the Guard, said most of the families lived within close proximity of each other at a small outpost near the camp

"When the kids went to school we played cards," she said "I don't know what we would've done if we hadn't had each other It would have been very lonely These ladies were true friends, helped each other out when needed We were all in same boat, anticipating our husbands going to Korea"

Berglund said she had "wonderful neighbors, though I wouldn't want to go back A lot of these ladies I didn't know well before, but we got to know each other really good down there"

Several families even shared living quarters, though they did have separate bedrooms Dennis and Rose Engen, now of Grand Forks, shared quarters with the Youngquists

"We both had very young children," said Engen "Dolly was a really good friend and we had some good times together It didn't really bother us sharing a home"

"It was an experience living there," Youngquist added "I remember it being very hot"

Although she only spent four months at Camp Rucker before her husband was sent to Korea, Bernice (Lester) Samuelson, of Maple Lake, managed to get close to the other women during that time and said she missed them when she first came back home with her baby daughter and no husband

"We could relate to each other like women whose husbands weren't in the military couldn't," she said

Pearl Radi's husband, Les, was also sent to Korea While at Camp Rucker, she worked for the intelligence office there, but returned to Crookston when he was deployed

Gloria Zak, Vi Christianson and Lorraine Prudhomme could not make it to the reunion this year, but the 12 who were in attendance said they hope they'll be there next year

"We plan to do this until none of us are around," said Helgeson "We're like family, you know"

By Natalie J Ostgaard, City Editor, Crookston Daily Times, 10/3/06
Source: http://www.crookstontimes.com/articles/2006/10/03/news/12news1.txt

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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

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.

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