16 February 2010

Red Bulls Returning, Part 1

Minnesota Public Radio has recently posted an in-depth, multi-layered, multi-media coverage of the return of the 34th Infantry Division. The U.S. 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division comprises both Minnesota and Iowa units, among others.

It's great and creative stuff, and I can't even begin to do it all justice here. Of particular note, however, are the creative touches such as superimposing the outline of Minnesota over the map of Iraq. What an easy-to-comprehend way to show people the distances involved!

For Red Bull soldiers such as me, who face a potential deployment later this year, the Minnesota Public Radio coverage offers a smorgasbord of insights. Do yourself and your family a favor, and go the overall link right here.

Major topics include:

"Family and War" including discussions of using technology to keep in touch with your family, and Blue Star Mothers (mothers of deployed soldiers) support programs.

"Who are the Red Bulls?" includes discussions of the deployment's effects on recruiting, and the missions pursued by the Minnesota National Guard soldiers.

"Adjusting to Civilian Life" includes two great articles--one on transitioning back to work, one on transitioning back to home. It also covers veterans helping veterans, and even a "VIP center" for soldiers at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.

"Mental Illness and Treatment" leads off with "new ways to diagnose Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)," and makes the technical more personal with the story of one Minnesota veteran's post-2004-deployment experience. There's a great story on the (lack of?) availability of mental health resources for rural veterans.

"Living with Physical Injuries" includes some good perspective on the types of injuries most often suffered by our troops.

Finally, there's an "Interactive Guide to Coming Home by and for Veterans and Their Families."

Good stuff! I hope that some major news venue in Iowa--the Des Moines Register, perhaps, or Iowa Public Radio--manages to put similar thought and talent to my own unit's deployment. More thoughts to come ...

Part 1 of 3

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