| Veteran service officers will meet returning troops
Robby Robinson, Washington County’s Veterans Services Officer, will again be part of a contingent of veterans services officers from around the state who will meet returning Minnesota National Guard troops after overseas deployment and work with them to smooth their re-integration
This time, the program will be later in the spring, welcoming troops to Camp Shelby, MS
Last fall, the Minnesota Association of County Veterans Services Officers aided in the re-integration of about 90 National Guard members from Company B 2-211/ Many of them have Washington County connections, but members are from all over Minnesota and some are from other states
County veterans services officers from around the state will travel to Mississippi to start the demobilization and re-integration process for the new wave of returning troops
Part of the process will be to enroll troops in the Veterans Administration health care program, and to start the process for any veteran who will qualify for Veterans Administration benefits
Linking returning troops to their home county veterans services officer will also be key
The spring contingent will be larger than the one that returned in November, and will arrive in groups over the course of the re-integration process The benefit of meeting the troops as they arrive at the fort allows the service officers to meet one-on-one with them, so each may be asked personally, “What are your biggest concerns coming back,” Robinson said, and what can be done to help alleviate those concerns
The veterans services officers must also realize that the troops will simply want to be home, to be reunited with loved ones, Robinson said “When you’ve been gone more than a year, it’s quite a feeling when you are back here and need to readjust to family life,” he said It is always challenging when one member of the household has been carrying the whole load, to have a second person re-enter the picture
Another challenge is looking for work, for those who will not be returning to a former job And after that, Robinson said he is looking forward to visiting with the returning troops to see what else it is that they need It will be similar to the November program, but on a much larger scale, he said
Robinson and Dale Cotch, another Veterans Services Officer, conduct office hours in the county service centers in Cottage Grove and Forest Lake, as well as in the Government Center in Stillwater
Office hours are 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday in the county Government Center in Stillwater; 8 am – 4:30 pm Tuesdays and Fridays in Cottage Grove, call 651-430-6895 for appointments; and 8 am – 4:30 pm, Mondays and Wednesdays in Forest Lake, call 651-430-6578 for appointments
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.
Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises
Posted: 2017-04-12 03:22 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.
Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.
"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.