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H. Con. Res. 371  (enr) - Whereas the Minnesota National Guard traces its origins to the formation of the Pioneer Guard in the Minnesota territory in 1856, two years before Minnesota became the 32nd State in the Union; Whereas the First Minnesota Infantry regiment was among the first militia regiments in the Nation to respond to President Lincoln's call for troops in April 1861 when it volunteered for three years of service during the Civil War; Whereas during the Civil War the First Minnesota Infantry regiment saw battle at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg; Whereas during a critical moment in the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, 262 soldiers of the First Minnesota Infantry, along with other Union forces, bravely charged and stopped Confederate troops attacking the center of the Union position on Cemetery Ridge; Whereas only 47 men answered the roll after this valiant charge, earning the First Minnesota Infantry the highest casualty rate of any unit in the Civil War; Whereas the Minnesota National Guard was the first to volunteer for service in the Philippines and Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, with enough men to form three regiments; Whereas one of the three Minnesota regiments to report for duty in the War with Spain, the 13th Volunteer regiment, under the command of Major General Arthur MacArthur, saw among the heaviest fighting of the war in the battle of Manila and suffered more casualties than all other regiments combined during that key confrontation to free the Philippines; Whereas after the cross-border raids of Pancho Villa and the attempted instigation of a war between the United States and Mexico, the border was secured in part by the Minnesota National Guard; Whereas the Minnesota National Guard was mobilized for duty in World War I, where many Minnesotans saw duty in France, including the 151st Field Artillery, which saw duty as part of the famed 42nd ``Rainbow'' Division; Whereas the first federally recognized Air National Guard unit in the Nation was the 109th Observation Squadron of the Minnesota National Guard, which passed its muster inspection on January 17, 1921; Whereas a tank company of the Minnesota National Guard from Brainerd, Minnesota was shipped to the Philippines in 1941 to shore up American defenses against Japan as World War II neared; Whereas these men from Brainerd fought hard and bravely as American forces were pushed into the Bataan Peninsula and ultimately endured the Bataan Death March; Whereas men of the Minnesota National Guard's 175th Field Artillery, as part of the 34th ``Red Bull'' Division, became the first American Division to be deployed to Europe in January of 1942; Whereas when the 34th Division was shipped to North Africa, it fired the first American shells against the Nazi forces; Whereas the 34th Division participated in six major Army campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, which led to the division being credited with taking many of the enemy-defended hills in the European Theater as well as having more combat days than any other division in Europe; Whereas the Minnesota National Guard served with distinction on the ground and in the air during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Whereas Minnesota National Guard troops have helped keep the peace in the former Yugoslavia, including 1,100 troops who have seen service in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo; Whereas the Minnesota National Guard has participated in keeping America safe after September 11th, 2001, in numerous ways, including airport security; Whereas the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing's F-16s flew patrols over cities after September 11th for a longer time than any other air defense unit; Whereas over 11,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard have been called up for full-time service since the September 11th terrorist attacks; Whereas as of March 20, 2006, Minnesota National Guard troops are serving in national defense missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Iraq; Whereas more than 600 Minnesota National Guard troops have been deployed to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom; Whereas members of the Minnesota National Guard, serving in the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division, have been a part of the State's largest troop deployment since World War II, with more than 2,600 citizen soldiers called to service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Whereas the Minnesota National Guard has greatly contributed not only to battles but to the suppressing of violent riots, such as the 1947 national meat processors strike, in which they aided helpless police officers, and the fight against natural disasters such as the Red River flood in 1997 in which they organized search and rescue missions, helped shelter people who were left homeless, ran logistics, and helped sandbagging efforts; and Whereas on April 17, 2006, the Minnesota National Guard will celebrate its 150th anniversary along with its historical and recent accomplishments: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress-- (1) honors and congratulates the Minnesota National Guard for its spirit of dedication and service to the State of Minnesota and to the Nation on its 150th anniversary; and (2) recognizes that the role of the National Guard, the Nation's citizen-soldier based militia, which was formed before the United States Army, has been and still is extremely important to the security and freedom of the Nation.

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