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Minnesota National Guard
Army Looks to Guard for Recruiting Help

WASHINGTON -- The US Army is turning to the National Guard for help recruiting would-be Soldiers in hometowns across America

Army leaders, struggling to meet recruitment goals in the midst of a long and unpopular war in Iraq, are quietly working out final details of a program that would give bonuses of $2,000 per recruit to any National Guard Soldier who brings somebody into the active duty Army

Army Secretary Pete Geren disclosed the plan in an interview with The Associated Press, calling it an innovative effort to get broader reach into local communities

The Guard members, Geren said, are "much more in contact with the civilian population than the active duty Soldier is So they give us reach into a larger segment of the community on a personal level, a one to one basis, than we get through our recruiting relationships"

National Guard "recruiting assistants" already earn bonuses for signing up new members of the Guard, and one former Marine was so successful that he earned nearly $100,000

Under the new plan, a recruit would join the Guard but indicate that they are intending to shift to active duty After they finish basic training they would either sign up for 30, 36 or 48 months in the active Army, or change their mind and simply stay in the Guard

The Army secretary said the impact of the new Guard program would be felt next year when Guard Soldiers will "become an important part of the active recruiting force"

The secretary says "they would recruit Soldiers into the active component," adding that the recruits would then have continuing obligations in the reserves

The Army initially expects to gain about 1,600 recruits next year through what they're calling the "Active First" program, according to Lt Col Ron Walls, chief of enlisted recruiting and retention for the Army National Guard

Guard officials see the new plan as a boost for them, even though it could remove Soldiers from the Army Guard ranks and shift them into active duty positions for 30 to 48 months

"It's a win-win for both the Army and the National Guard," said Walls While the active Army gets a new Soldier, "we gain some (recruiting) growth immediately, and in the long run we gain a higher readiness level"

Under the proposal, recruits who come in under the Active First program will be counted toward the Guard's recruitment goals Also, the active Army would pay the bonus to the Guard Soldier that got the new recruit

Walls said that, in the end, "unless (the recruits) want to make a career out of active duty, they will return to the Guard"

Guard officials also see this as a way to reach people who might be open to a military career, but are looking for a full-time job, not just a part-time Guard position

The program will be launched in the coming months after final details are hammered out

Guard members who have gone through the recruiting assistant program, receive a $1,000 bonus for each person they sign up and another $1,000 when the recruit leaves for basic training More than 100,000 Guard Soldiers have gone through the recruiter program

The program has been a financial boon for some Guard Soldiers

"There have been some very successful recruiter assistants, who started out doing it just as an opportunity, then went part time," said Walls Some have made just $2,000, but others have quit their full-time jobs and "have done exceptionally well and can make a living doing it"

One of those is Sgt Dana Kline, a former Marine who is now in the Georgia Army Guard and earlier this year had earned nearly $100,000 in bonuses as a recruiting assistant

Geren said that the active duty Army is also beefing up its own bonus program that essentially trains thousands of Soldiers to also be recruiters

Both the Guard and the active duty Army have struggled with recruiting, as the US heads into its seventh year at war, starting with the post 9/11 campaign in Afghanistan More than 3,700 members of the US military have died in the Iraq war alone

After failing to meet recruiting goals for two consecutive months, the Army hit its target for July, and is on track to meet its annual goal of 80,000 recruits for the fiscal year that ends Sept 30

Geren said the Army and the National Guard are currently ahead of their year-to-date goal, and the Reserves are at 99 percent of their goal

But, he acknowledged that it will still be a difficult road to recruit the full 19,100 Soldiers needed in August and September in order to meet that 80,000 target

The Guard has narrowly met its goals for the past two months, but fell short in May

By LOLITA C BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
Article source: http://www.salon.com



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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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