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Minnesota National Guard
Iraq veterans return home: Now, a 'new normal'

Relieved but restrained, a Minnesota Soldier returns from Iraq First, he'll fish Then, he'll begin the long task of learning how, and how much, the war has changed his life

Sgt. 1st Class Jim Kallberg and Sgt Maj Cindy Kallberg, both of Rosemount, embrace moments after Kallberg and other Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery got of a bus in New Ulm, Minn, on Monday, July 23, 2007 They returned from Iraq a week earlier (Ben Garvin, Pioneer Press) (Ben Garvin)

With a loud, last command - "HHB, DISMISSED!" - and an even louder cheer Monday afternoon, Sgt. 1st Class Jim Kallberg and his unit were released from their 22-month deployment that included 16 months in Iraq

Kallberg, of the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, had a one-word reaction to the command: "Relief"

The Rosemount man was one of the 2,600 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers who served in Iraq and have returned to the United States in the past few weeks Most, like Kallberg, have been delivered to their families

Their Iraq tour was the longest of any US military unit during the war

The returning veterans also have a long road ahead - the road to finding what one commander calls a "new normal"

As they've been told over and over, they must adjust to how their Iraq experience changed them

They heard a similar message Monday

"We hope that you will readjust quickly and happily It won't be easy," New Ulm Mayor Joel Albrecht, who served as a specialist in the Army at the end of the Korean War, said during the unit's welcome-home ceremony "Adjust well We love you, and I wish I could hug each one of you"

Albrecht, the only civilian invited to speak at the brief ceremony, said later that the changes - in the Soldiers and at home - may be subtle, but, built up over time, they can be jarring

On Monday, more than 100 Soldiers were reunited with their families on the hot, sticky Brown County Fairgrounds Many of the Soldiers and many more of the families were tearful and shouting with glee

Not Kallberg He was happy but subdued

He doesn't think he came back a new or different man

"I guess I don't really feel changed," he said

And if he has changed, his wife, Cindy Kallberg, will get him back into line, he joked

Cindy, a sergeant major in the Minnesota National Guard, also will be watching for specific changes

Already, she and her daughter, Kyrie Wilson, 16, have made a pact to make sure Jim isn't in the house alone

"Not to baby-sit him," Cindy said last week But to keep an eye on him

When he was in Iraq, Jim received a combat action badge - and those who've been deep enough in the action to receive that honor are more at risk for traumatic brain injuries, Cindy said Such injuries often are hidden for months and only show themselves after Soldiers return home

Such issues weren't at the front of Jim's mind Monday

"I want to go on a vacation Someplace that's not a desert," he said

He is already getting at least part of that wish

Jim and Cindy planned to stay Tuesday night at a hotel in New Ulm

The plan allows Jim, who traveled more than three hours Monday from a Wisconsin army base to New Ulm, and more than 16 hours last week from Iraq to Wisconsin, to stay put for a bit

It also allows Jim and Cindy, who've been in the same place at the same time for about two months in the past four years, because they've both been deployed, a little time alone

This weekend, even more of Jim's vacation wish will come true He'll be on a lake on a family fishing trip

The family gathering is, in part, a welcome-back celebration and, in part, a goodbye

Jeff Kallberg, Jim's brother, is a staff sergeant in the Air Force

As he decorated his brother's house to welcome Jim back from Iraq, Jeff said he is about to be deployed himself

He is headed, he said, "somewhere in the Middle East"

Pioneer Press
Article Launched: 07/24/2007 12:01:00 AM CDT

Rachel E Stassen-Berger can be reached at rstassen-berger@pioneerpress.com IRAQ COVERAGE INSIDE

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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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