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Minnesota National Guard
Easing the Transition: Allowing Guard to Reintegrate Side-by-side

Submitted by Melissa Sullivan on August 2, 2007 - 7:45am
By Sen Norm Coleman

As another beautiful Minnesota summer continues toward the fall, it is our great pleasure to welcome home more than 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard's First Brigade Combat Team who have recently returned home from extended service abroad
It's hard to believe that service in the National Guard used to be described as "one weekend a month, two weeks a year," especially as we see these brave men and women return from the longest deployment of any unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom These citizen-Soldiers are proof of the elevated commitment of the National Guard to the defense of our nation, a commitment that deserves the highest degree of recognition by the government it serves

More than "weekend warriors"
Unfortunately, the programs and policies of the Department of Defense still treat our Guard troops like "weekend warriors" rather than seasoned war fighters who spent nearly two years away from home on their latest deployment Though our troops have deployed and served in a manner consistent with the finest traditions of the United States armed forces, our federal initiatives have not provided a level of support that matches their courageous spirit

One of the greatest policy mistakes we have encountered is the abrupt transition from military to civilian life After their active duty orders are complete, these citizen-Soldiers are thrust back into their civilian lives without any plan or program to assist them in their readjustment In fact, under current Department of Defense policy, we don't even allow Guard units to organize mandatory group events to go through the reintegration process together during the first critical months of their return

"Hands-off" policy has holes
This 60-day hands-off policy is well intended Our Guardsmen and women should not be forced to drill when they should be spending time with their families after their return home However, the unintended consequences of this policy leave them isolated from their unit and their comrades - people they've spent every day with for well over a year - and also denies them valuable reintegration services

During a forum this spring at the University of Minnesota, Col Neal Loidolt, who has served 22 years in the National Guard, noted that many National Guard Soldiers and their families face unique challenges when loved ones return from active duty The problem, Loidolt said, is that the "hands-off" approach to returning National Guard troops forces families and Soldiers to bear the full brunt of the major adjustments that come with their return to civilian life I have heard this same concern time and again during my many meetings with our troops and their families across the state It's a very real concern and one that we need to address

Fortunately, the Minnesota National Guard has innovated a strategy to deal with this emerging challenge The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program is one of only a handful of programs in the entire country that focuses on the reintegration of returning National Guard troops It provides support for Soldiers and their families during each of the four phases of their deployment cycle including pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization, and post-deployment

Guard troops participate in events and activities including family and marriage counseling, financial planning and education, small business planning, community outreach and health-care and veterans benefits education

As it stands, however, the Minnesota National Guard cannot operate its program as effectively as possible because of the antiquated 60-day policy This rule has hamstrung the Guard's ability to immediately reach out to troops who may need help the most

For these reasons, I have visited with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates personally to urge him to rescind the Defense Department's 60-day hands-off policy for National Guard and Reserve troops returning home from combat This will allow them to have access to reintegration services immediately Many of Minnesota's other elected leaders have also contacted the Pentagon with this request

As we welcome thousands of Minnesotans back into our communities this summer, it is crucial that all of us do what we can to make their reintegration process as smooth as possible I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that all of our troops are able to meet the challenge of readjusting to civilian life in the best way possible It's the very least we can do for those who have given us all so much

Article source: http://www.hutchinsonleader.com/node/3651



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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.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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